New rules put the brakes on written-off car sales

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerMotor industry
  • Dealers must now disclose if vehicles they sell have been previously written off
  • Penalties apply if a dealer fails to disclose that a car is a repairable write-off  

Used car buyers now have more confidence that the vehicles they purchase from dealers are safe and reliable, with new regulations taking effect that tighten-up sales of written-off vehicles.

From today, motor vehicle dealers in Western Australia must disclose to prospective buyers whether a vehicle under 15 years old is a repairable write-off.

Dealers must tick 'Yes' or 'No' to whether a car is a repairable write-off, using the check box on the updated form that must be displayed in the window of every second hand car being offered for sale.

Failure to disclose this information on the form may result in a $2,000 penalty for dealers. Any false or misleading statement or representation made on the form may attract a fine of up to $5,000 under the Motor Vehicle Dealers legislation. It would also be a breach of the Australian Consumer Law if dealers and auctioneers failed to disclose the true history of the vehicle when asked.

A $2 search of the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR) will also reveal if a vehicle under 15 years old is a repairable write-off, has been stolen and is free of outstanding debts. To further protect consumers, there is also Consumer Protection's easy-to-follow used car buyer's checklist.   

Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Sue Ellery:

"Buying a car is a significant investment and consumers should have confidence their chosen vehicle is safe, reliable and fit for purpose.

"A repairable write-off may not be a good or safe investment, especially for families, as it can mean potential safety concerns and very little resale value for the vehicle down the track.

"Starting today, it is illegal for dealers to not disclose this information, which will put a stop to the number of repairable write-offs being sold to unsuspecting buyers and help to improve consumer trust in the dealer industry."

Consumer Protection
Media release
07 Jun 2024

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