Selling your car through a dealer

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ConsumerMotor industry

Selling a car to a licensed dealer can be done in three ways:

Selling directly to a dealership

Dealers may offer you cash on the spot to purchase your car. This process usually involves the dealer viewing and assessing your car to provide a valuation. You then need to negotiate with the dealer to secure a price right for you before arranging payment and handing over the car. The dealer will manage the paperwork for you.

Shop around and get more than one valuation to help you secure the best price.

Trading-in your car

If you want to buy a new car, you may choose to use your current car as a trade-in. The dealer will give you a price for your trade-in and quote for the balance to purchase your new car. It is a good idea to shop around and get valuations from multiple dealers to secure the best deal.

Consignment selling

Consignment selling is when you ask a dealer to sell your car on your behalf. A dealer must be licensed to sell cars on consignment and be able to show they have a ‘Category E’ added to their existing licence. If they do not have this type of licence, they are unable to sell your car on consignment.

Dealers selling cars by consignment have to follow strict requirements to the owner/seller and potential buyers.

The dealer must:

  • Carry out all of your instructions, exercise care, skill and diligence and operate in your best interests at all times; and
  • Disclose all relevant information to you in relation to selling the car and not delegate unauthorised power to act on your behalf to another party.

Consignment contracts

You must be given a standard consignment contract conforming with the terms and conditions required by the Motor Vehicle Dealers (Sales) Regulations 1974.

This contract must clearly state what amount you will receive when the car is sold (ie. the settlement or net return). You must also be given a copy of the consignment agreement immediately after it is signed by you and the dealer.

Under the agreement, a dealer can’t charge you for pre-sale repairs unless you have given prior written consent. When you consign your car, the dealer must pay to maintain warranties, including statutory warranties. These cannot be charged back to you.

Resolving disputes

If you have an issue with a dealer, try to resolve the dispute yourself directly with the dealer. If you are not happy with their response, contact the Consumer Protection Contact Centre on 1300 30 40 54 or by email for further assistance.

If you’re unable to resolve the dispute, you can lodge a complaint with Consumer Protection.

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