Buying a car from a private seller

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Buying a vehicle privately can be cheaper than buying from a dealer however it also offers less security.

As the vehicle will not be covered by a statutory warranty, it is a good idea to have it inspected prior to purchase. This will be at your own cost. 

Depending on the age of the vehicle, you may also be entitled to any remaining period of the manufacturer’s warranty, or any extended warranty that was purchased with the vehicle. Be sure to confirm whether any warranty remains on the vehicle and, if so, arrange with the seller to have it transferred where possible.  

Furthermore, although the Australian Consumer Law provides guarantees as to clear title, undisturbed possession and undisclosed securities, you should still carry out a search of the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) to ensure the vehicle is not stolen, does not have money owing on it or is not a write-off. 

When inspecting the vehicle you should check the following information:

  • date and year of manufacture is the same as the date on the vehicle identification plate;
  • the number plate matches that stated on the licence papers;
  • date and year of manufacture is the same as the date on the vehicle identification plate;
  • the vehicle identification number or chassis number in the engine bay matches that stated on the licence registration papers;
  • the vehicle is licensed, and when the licence expires;
  • proof that the person selling the car is the owner, i.e. they have the vehicle licence papers, a sales receipt or driver's licence to help identify who they are.

You and the seller need to agree upon a price and a means of payment. Only proceed if you are completely happy with the purchase.

Contact the Department of Transport - Driver and Vehicle Services for information about how to transfer the vehicle licence to your name.

Buying a used vehicle from Consumer Protection WA on Vimeo.

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