If you thought that dodgy car dealers have had their day in the motor vehicle industry then think again. Recent statistics have shown that fraud is alive and well in Australia and it’s costing consumers over $500 million per year. If you do the figures it works out to be an average of approximately $4000 per incident. This is alarming considering the tightening of laws around the motor vehicle industry and the Government’s stance on such fraud.
If you are thinking of purchasing a used car, it is imperative that you complete thorough checks and balances prior to any purchase. Listed is a compilation of the most common issues that buyers are seeing:
- Odometer rollback – When an unscrupulous seller will wind back the kilometre reading on the vehicle to misrepresent the vehicle life.
- Weather damage – Due to Australia’s harsh landscape, many vehicles have had hail or water damage that has been concealed.
- Balance owing or stolen vehicle – A seller may have a balance left to pay off on the vehicle. If sold to you, it may cause you legal and financial implications. Stolen vehicles are more common than most people realise. They are usually shipped interstate after the theft.
What should you do?
Seek an experienced mechanic to inspect the vehicle and give an independent review of the state of the car. Complete an encumbrance check to rule out any outstanding balance left on the vehicle. Consult other owners of the vehicle; look for common vehicle part failures of your particular model and ensure you thoroughly test drive prior to purchase.
Returning to the issue of fraud; statistics have shown that approximately 60% of all cases were the result of private sellers. Due to this it pays to be extra vigilant with your scrutiny prior to purchase. The smartest option for avoiding this risk is to purchase a new vehicle. Through conducting meticulous research you can find good value vehicles that are brand new and match your needs. They may have a a little bit more upfront cost but you have all the positives about purchasing a new vehicle. Two of these positives include knowing the history of the vehicle and in most instances having a warranty.
As it stands, the motor vehicle industry is not completely free of fraud and it is up to you as the consumer to be vigilant and ensure you cover all the potential issues. If you are averse to taking a risk with such a high level purchase; consider purchasing new and always use a reputable finance company. It seems that the Government can’t get rid of the dodgy sellers, but you can definitely take steps that will allow you the best chance to avoid being their next victim.