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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Buckle up for changes to car write-off sales

New regulations to protect consumers from making a purchase they may later regret will soon come into effect, with penalties coming to car dealers who fail to reveal whether they are selling written-off vehicles.

From June 7th, motor vehicle dealers in Western Australia will have to disclose to prospective buyers if a vehicle under 15-years old is a repairable write-off.

Announcing the new regulations, Commerce Minister, Sue Ellery said that even though a vehicle can be repaired, the fact it has been deemed a repairable write-off or too costly to repair, may mean that there could be other unknown issues with the vehicle. Consumers may also struggle to get full insurance coverage for a vehicle that has been written-off or discover it has a lower market value, she said.

“The Cook Government is making sure anyone on the lookout for a second-hand vehicle isn’t buying a lemon.”

“Every used car buyer has a right to know that the vehicle they have chosen is safe, reliable, and fit for purpose. Making it illegal for dealers to not disclose whether a vehicle is a repairable write-off will go a long way towards achieving this goal.

“These changes will also help build trust between consumers and dealers through added transparency,” the Minister said.

Under the new regulations, dealers will have to disclose whether a second-hand vehicle is a repairable write-off. Failure to make this disclosure may result in a $2,000 penalty and any false or misleading statement or representation on the sale form will attract a $5,000 fine under the Motor Vehicle Dealers legislation.

The new regulations will help address the growing numbers of consumers who unknowingly purchase used cars that have been written off and repaired, with complaints to Consumer Protection tripling since 2020.

To further protect against buying a lemon, there is Consumer Protection’s easy-to-follow used car buyer’s checklist.  Consumers are also encouraged to pay $2 to check the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR) which will confirm whether a vehicle under 15-years-old is a repairable write-off, has been stolen and is free of outstanding debts.

The new regulations are available to view here.

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