Every year, in Tasmania, approximately 900 motorists buy a used car without realising the vehicle has previously been declared a repaired write-off. A repairable write-off is a vehicle that has been accident damaged or flooded and the insurance company pays out the owner, before selling the vehicle, usually at auction, to a repairer. Once repaired and inspected, the vehicle can be sold to the public, usually, as a private sale. TACC is warning buyers to be aware that the private-sale vehicle they are considering could once have been a repairable write off. There is nothing technically wrong with a correctly repaired write off that has been repaired according to the guidelines set down by Transport, the issue is relative to the perceived value of that vehicle. TACC is particularly concerned about the number of repairable write-offs finding their way to Tasmania following mainland floods. These vehicles have been underwater and while they pass initial inspection, over time, wiring and terminals corrode and computers fail leaving the unsuspecting owners with faulty vehicles and expensive repairs.
“We have a vehicle in our workshop at the moment which has come from Queensland and been a flood damaged repairable write-off. The problems with this car require a thorough investigation and so far we have found water damage in the wiring and relays and we are still working on it. I feel very sorry for the owner because these types of jobs are very time consuming and costly.” Chairman of the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (Tasmania), Adam Gowans, said.
As of January 2012 anyone considering purchasing a vehicle should use the newly established Personal Property Security Register to try and establish recorded history of the vehicle they are considering purchasing. Also in 2012 there were major changes made to the motor trader legislation in Tasmania which, in combination with the changes to Australian Consumer Law, has greatly increased a consumer's rights and protections. TACC is urging potential car buyers to visit their local car dealer instead of taking the risk of buying privately from the kerb-side and to be wary of on-line deals that seem too good to be true.