Costly lesson after buying car without WOF

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 09:43 20/11/2013
Cassandra Bean
Stacy Squires

PURPLE LEMON: Cassandra Bean regrets buying a car without a warrant of fitness.

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Cassandra Bean thought she was getting her "dream car" when she purchased her bright purple Toyota Altezza.

But the very next day when she took it to get a warrant of fitness, her heart sunk when it required more repairs than promised.

Bean, 23, recently brought the vehicle from We Buy and Sell Cars, owned by registered car dealer William Lentjes.

The car was listed for $8000 but when Bean went to view it, Lentjes said he could drop $500 off the price or $1000 if she bought it without a warrant of fitness.

The Motor Vehicle Association (MTA) is concerned at the number of cases it has come across where vehicles have been sold without a warrant, which is a legal requirement. Bean, who was unaware of the law, had her doubts.

"Before I agreed to that I asked what's wrong with the vehicle? What work will it need for the warrant of fitness?" Bean said Lentjes assured her the only work it would require was a wheel alignment. However, she found out there was a list of things that needed repairing.

She approached Lentjes to give him an opportunity to fix the issues.

"When I confronted him about it he said: ‘It's not my problem, get over it'. I feel completely worked over."

Lentjes said a mechanical report at the auction only highlighted two repairs, that the tyres needed replacing and it required a wheel alignment.

"They're usually pretty on to it, so based on that I was pretty confident it [the warrant] would not cost too much."

However, Lentjes said he explained he was "not a mechanic" and was just going on what the mechanical report stated.

He said he also replaced the tyres. Lentjes said he also told Bean he would prefer the car be sold with a warrant, as he was aware of the legal requirement.

He said "unfortunately" he did not get Bean to sign a document saying she would not use the vehicle until a warrant was obtained.

Bean had since contacted the Motor Trade Association for advice. She wanted her money back to buy a "decent car" and planned to take Lentjes to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.

Bean warned others buying a new car to pay for a full mechanical report.

MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said anyone who had an address and paid the fee, around $500, could become a registered car dealer and he felt there should be some requirement surrounding basic consumer law.

He said some dealers were "not familiar enough" with the Fair Trading Act or Consumer Guarantees Act.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

Every vehicle sold by a trader must have a warrant of fitness less than one month old. If it doesn't, the seller must obtain from the buyer a written undertaking that (i) if the car is sold without a warrant, the vehicle will not be used until a warrant is obtained, or (ii) where the warrant is more than a month old, the buyer accepts this.

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