Commissioner's Blog: Danger on the road - protect yourself from unlicensed car dealers
Unlicensed motor vehicle dealers are a danger to the community and they’re illegal. The vehicles sold can be riddled with problems, possibly making them unroadworthy. This puts you and other road users at risk, which could result in a serious accident or even death.
These so-called ‘dodgy dealers’ also don’t offer warranties that are required by law on their second-hand vehicles. This means if you have mechanical issues after your purchase from these illegal operators, you won’t be protected in the same way you would if you had purchased from a licensed car dealer. The unknown cost to repair your vehicle is the risk you take by purchasing from an unlicensed dealer.
Illegal traders generally do not repair any faults in a car once sold, leaving you out-of-pocket and possibly stuck with a lemon.
In 2023, Consumer Protection successfully prosecuted six unlicensed vehicle dealers in WA, with $106,000 in fines issued. The most recent prosecution saw Alix Alchikh Ebrahim Aljilani of Thornlie, fined $47,600 for buying and selling more than 100 cars in a seven month period. This sizeable penalty reflects the serious nature of the offence and we’re warning more prosecutions will follow.
If someone sells or exchanges four or more vehicles in any 12-month period to or with people that are not dealers, they’re carrying on a business and need to be licensed.
Unlicensed car dealing creates an uneven playing field in the marketplace and undermines the integrity of the motor vehicle industry in WA.
You can protect yourself from dodgy unlicensed car dealers by doing some simple checks. Before buying a car, check that the seller is licensed by asking to see their Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Licence. If you are unsure whether the person you are buying from is licensed, visit Consumer Protection’s licence and registration search.
Go through our car buyers checklist at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/buyingacar. This checklist empowers you to know what to look out for when shopping around for a second-hand car and gives you the best chance at driving away with a safe and reliable vehicle. Also remember to spend $2 on Personal Property Securities Register check at ppsr.gov.au to ensure the vehicle hasn’t been written off, isn’t unregistered or has money owing on it.
Help protect yourself and others on the road by dobbing in unlicensed dealers to Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email@example.com