Things to consider when selling your car
31/05/2018 For the most part, the Consumer Protection Act protects consumers who buy pre-owned cars, however, there are some entitlements that it extends to the seller. In this article, we’ll look at what you should consider as well as the protections afforded to you by the CPA.
The first and most important thing to remember is that you, as a seller, have the responsibility to ensure your buyer is given an opportunity to exercise their rights and the burden to prove that you did act reasonably and in accordance with the Act.
The sale of a car is considered as a normal sale of goods by the CPA, so before you even think of selling, your car should be in good working condition and safe to drive.
Your responsibility to disclose full information
Since the inception of the Act, seller can no longer sell a car “as is.” It is important to always maintain honesty and act in good faith.
Before a potential buyer commits to a purchase agreement, you must avail all the information pertaining to the following to them:
Existing faults: If you know of any existing fault/s, you must let the buyer know about it. This includes anything that you believe shows signs of being faulty even though it mostly functions normally.
Accidents: You must also provide as much information as possible to him/her regarding any previous accidents the car was involved in, no matter how small.
Repair history: A full (dealer certified) service schedule and repair history must be provided to the buyer.
Reconditioning: The buyer has a right to know whether the car has been rebuilt or renovated before.
Registration status: Finally, the buyer should be aware of the car’s first registration year and who it is currently registered with. This information should match with the car’s documentation.
Disclosing all of the above pieces of information must occur at or before the point of sale. You can’t inform the buyer of existing faults after they have already taken ownership of the car.
When you can refuse to bear the costs of repair or a refund
The purpose of disclosing full information plays a major role here. If you informed the buyer of existing faults and they went on to conclude the sale, you won’t be liable for any repair costs and he/she won’t be entitled to a refund for car failure mainly caused by an existing fault. Those faults will considered to be a result of wear and tear and thus excluded in the consumer’s right of return. Perhaps it will be helpful for you to mention this fact to your potential buyer when you disclose the car’s repair history, this will help you prove that you were compliant with the Act and not negligent. Also record the faults in writing with some form of acknowledgement from the buyer so that you have proof that these were disclosed to them.
Even with the CPA in place, there will be some unscrupulous individuals who try to make a quick buck by buying a car and then returning it for irrelevant reasons in hopes you will be caught in a lie. That is why transparency on your part is of utmost importance. You should also be careful if someone wants to test drive the car or pay an initial deposit and ‘pay after a trial.’
Understandably, the sale of your car may be bittersweet, but you can control how smoothly the sale is concluded by acting in good faith and being as informative as you can towards your buyer. This will go a long way for both you and them when things go wrong.