CONSUMER COLUMN – NOVEMBER 2016.
From Glenda Thompson.
At this time of year, many parents will be in the throes of finding a second hand vehicle for their off-spring for their Tertiary Education years. It’s always good to get some solid research done before purchasing a second hand car, but what if one purchases a car in good faith – and it turns out to be a dud. We asked local lawyers, Schulz, Wiesinger O’Dwyer incorporated for their advice on this.
If you buy a car from a second-hand dealer, it still falls under the Consumer Protection Act, and the CPA will apply to your transaction. A second-hand car falls within the definition of “goods” in the CPA and is also subject to the CPA protection against defective goods.
The CPA provides an automatic warranty that all goods (in this case a car) purchased comply with the following requirements:
- The car must be safe, in good working order and free from any defects.
- It must be suitable for the purpose for which it is intended
- It must be usable and durable for a reasonable period of time – with regards to the use it will normally be put to.
IF the vehicle purchased fails to meet the requirements as set out by the CPA within six months after the purchase or delivery, the consumer has the right to return it and insist on one of the following:
- Have the vehicle repaired.
- Have the vehicle replaced.
- Or – obtain a full refund of the purchase price.
“In general, if a consumer prefers to have the defective goods (a vehicle in this case) replaced or to have the purchase price refunded, the supplier must comply and cannot force the consumer to have the goods repaired instead. The supplier is also liable for the costs of repairing, collecting and/or replacing the defective goods. It is important to remember that the defect of the goods must be a material imperfection to qualify for one of the three remedies. The CPA will also apply regardless of the suppliers’ refund policy, unless the refund policy is more favourable towards the consumer
In the case of second hand goods, there are exceptions to the rules regarding refunds in that they do not apply if the consumer was specifically informed of the specific defects of the particular item and the consumer still agreed to purchase the item in that condition, or the goods were altered contrary to the instructions, or after leaving the control of the dealership.
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