NB: All the cars on this website are sold through credible dealers, all of which are approved. By default, the cars on Used Cars For Sale all carry a 6 months warranty which means if something major goes wrong, you can return the car to the dealer. But first you need to know a little about what the Consumer Protection Act says.

There's a great misconception about the Consumer Protection Act of 2008, which affects us all as consumers. With respect to persons in the second hand car market, it can get a little bit dicey if you do not know what's going on. As it states, the purpose of the Act is to protect the consumer first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean the consumer should prejudice the dealer in any unwarranted manner, and this is what we mean by that.

What of wear and tear on the car?

The Act deals greatly with second hand goods, even sophisticated ones like cars. In this case, the Act provides that the car should be sold in a reasonable condition so as to fulfil its utility. Good and credible dealers will only sell you a car that is of the highest possible quality given its price, mileage, age, and other considerations. If then, after buying and driving the car you find fault with something that is entirely on your account, something that was foreseen at the sale of the car which you as the buyer ought to have inspected or asked about, then you may not return your car to the dealer for such wear and tear problems that arise thereafter. These can include things like gas refiling when your air-con doesn't cool properly, or if your tyres puncture, or if your gear transmission becomes faulty after you decided to pretend you are an F1 driver on the N2. The onus is on you, the buyer, for negligence of this sort.

How does the 6 months warranty work?

Arguably the best protection of the consumer is the implied warranty of six months on the car. Essentially, what this means is that the dealer should stand good for reasonable durability of the car, after all, vehicles are durable goods, so we expect them to not break down immediately after hitting the road. With this, the most important thing to know have already been touched on above. Wear and tear are when parts of the car break down by virtue of them doing so because of using the car. However, a defect would be something like the car being unable to brake. Also, because of this implied warranty, the defect must have existed at or before the time the contract of sale was concluded and the buyer is in possession of the car. Highlighting something we will go into more detail into, misrepresentation by the seller of such a defect is contrary to good faith of the contract.

This 6 months warranty and the Act as a whole is there to protect you, but just don't be sneaky about it and try tricking dealers, it just won't work!

Most good dealers will have you sign the contract of sale along with a written warranty. Sometimes the warranty can be extended to beyond the six months, which means that the costs involved with the car will be even more, but all for a good cause.

What happens if the dealer misrepresents his or herself?

There are two common types of misrepresentation in this case: the dealer claims to have authority to sell the car (which is something that could've started with a cold call to you), where this affects his or her person, or the dealer misrepresents himself about the car on sale (this could be about the condition of the car or its price). You as the car buyer can get recourse after taking the necessary procedures to prove that indeed the dealer was the one at fault here. In case of the former, according to the Act, you can return the car for a refund, subject to that the car is returned in a reasonable condition, else any proven and unnecessary devaluation between the resale/return value of the car and what you the buyer originally bought it for would have to come out of your own pocket. However, if you choose to not return the car, the dealer is liable to compensate the original owner of the car who was the person who had authority to sell it to you, and/or grant the dealer the authority to do so as an agent.

Can I return a car after I have driven it?

The Act realises that many buyers of used cars flip the cars, i.e. purchase a car and return it only to buy another one from a different dealer again and again. This is an abuse of privilege by consumers and it is an outright sinister thing to do. Luckily for dealers, the Act provides that the car can be returned within the jargon of the terms of the purchase contract. There are provisions in the contract that a dealer may accept a car back only and if only it can be proven that the buyer has not misrepresented his or herself. This means that you cannot return a car just because the sound system no longer works, especially if this was your fault. The dealer may accept a car back only if it is within reasonable condition, and again, any proven and unnecessary devaluation between the resale/return value of the car and what you the buyer originally bought it for would have to come out of your own pocket.

Product Safety

Just as you cannot claim for damage to the car against the dealer as a result of your own negligence, you cannot claim for harm on yourself [body] after you have signed on the dotted line stating you understand a road vehicle is a dangerous object and you take full responsibility to take extra care, and again the word reasonable care to ensure yours and other parties safety when driving.

What sort of proof do I have that I own the car?

Like any other contract, the right documentation, signed by all the parties at the right venue, and in full consciousness of the decisions you are all making, will be provided. This is to ensure that any correspondence that arises after the contract of sale is concluded, each party can point to the papers to raise his or her case.

Can I back down from an offer to buy a car?

Used cars, just like other goods are sold with the intention of getting the most reasonable price between the parties. A dealer is not obliged to sell you a car at below its book value (of which so many cars are) just because you both know this fact. This arises from the fact that the Act was in part to protect people who where under educated and/or poor, in order to bring them to the mainstream consumer fold. Subsequently, the misguided interpretation of the Act can lead to some consumers thinking that because a dealer does not want to sell you a certain car at a certain price that you both feel is the car's book value, you are being discriminated against. This is not the case, and ultimately, the dealer as the owner or agent of the car's owner can decide to accept or reject your offer of purchase.

What of cooling off periods?

This is to protect the seller when the offer to purchase the car [by the buyer] was not concluded at the seller's premises or vehicle finance provider's or any other premises agreed up by the parties.

Author: Pierre Theron