Buying a used vehicle.
Around a quarter of all vehicles stolen in Australia are never recovered and with a large number of these vehicles (or parts stripped from them) given new identifiers and placed back on the market to be sold to unsuspecting buyers. While it may seem unfair, if you buy a car from a private buyer which is later found to be stolen, you may lose both the vehicle and the money you paid for it. This can also be the case if you purchase a car which is still under finance. Minimise the danger of buying a stolen vehicle by following these tips.
When buying a used car
- that basic vehicle description information (e.g. make, model, colour, jurisdiction of registration, expiry date, etc.) is consistent with the national register.
- whether any party, such as a bank or other lender, has a recorded financial interest in the vehicle;
- whether the vehicle is recorded as stolen; and
- whether the vehicle has ever been declared a total loss (i.e. write-off) result of damage induced by a collision, fire, water inundation, other weather event, malicious action, dismantling or stripping.
A written-off vehicle is one that has been assessed as being too expensive to repair, or too damaged for safe repair.
To conduct a PPSR check go to www.ppsr.gov.au. A check costs $2.00. No information will be confirmed by telephone.
When buying privately
Be realistic! Beware of vehicles that are significantly under-priced for their make, model, age, and condition. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Check the vehicle’s identifiers for signs of tampering. Identifiers are usually found on the firewall at the back of the engine compartment. Any evidence of grind marks, scratching or over-stamping on the vehicle’s engine number, chassis number, vehicle identification number (VIN) or compliance plate should be treated with extreme caution.
Ask for evidence of the vehicle’s history. Ask the seller for their proof of purchase; check the vehicle’s odometer reading against the service manual and look for authentic receipts for major servicing.
Make sure that the person selling the vehicle is the owner Ask the seller for photo identification and check the details against those on the registration certificate.
Get a detailed receipt. If you decide to buy a vehicle, ask the seller for a receipt that includes the date of sale, your name, the amount you paid, the VIN or chassis number and the seller’s name, address, licence number and signature.
Trust your instinct. If something just does not seem right about the deal, don’t buy it.