The festive season is here is a few weeks and while some are looking to buy a car, many are choosing used.
“Buying a car in South Africa is often the second biggest financial commitment a consumer makes after buying or renting a home,” said Pieter Niemand, director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association.
“Unfortunately, it’s our emotions that influence which car to buy, not clear thinking and research. And the wrong purchase can be a very costly mistake.”
Niemand said it is really worth your time to do research and get a professional opinion before signing any contracts or handing over payment.
“A contract needs to protect you as the buyer so make sure when you sign you aren’t waiving away your consumer rights.”
He said consumers should first ask what guarantees are in place. If there are no guarantees, the seller needs to be transparent about why no guarantees exist. The Consumer Protection Act is very clear regarding minimum guarantees on transactions.
“If the car is being worked on, do not conclude the deal until the work is completed. Also, be very clear regarding timelines for completion of the work.
“When you are ready to move forward with a deal, it is advisable to pay a deposit first. Then, when you are satisfied that all related, needed and agreed upon work, is done, pay the balance.”
An important point to consider is building a portfolio of evidence – putting down all agreements and undertakings in writing.
“If the agreement is in writing, you have proof of your case if you need to speak to a body like the Retail Motor Industry Organisation.
“Verbal agreements and contracts are often difficult to prove.”
Niemand gave the following quick tips and important questions to ask before purchasing a vehicle:
- If you are buying privately, spend more time on the details
- Before paying a deposit, make sure that all checks and balances are done
- Does the car have a current license disc and registration papers?
- Is the car in a roadworthy condition?
- Are you dealing with the owner of the car or a second-party seller?
- Has the car been modified?
- Are there any warrantees and guarantees still available on the car, and will any transfer to you when the change of ownership happens?
- Is the car being sold for a fair price?
- Does the car have a verifiable service history?
- Take the car for a test drive and take a car specialist with you.
- Has the vehicle been in any accidents?
- Is the mileage correct and can this be verified?
- When last was the car serviced and when last was the cambelt changed?
- Do a mechanical report on the car before concluding the deal
- Check the condition of the tyres.
“Remember that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
He also said that there are professionals who can help you buy a car.
“Sometimes a phone call is all it takes to provide added peace of mind. The workshop association and the Retail Motor Industry will gladly help you out if you are seeking advice.”
For more information visit www.miwasa.com.