Buyers need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of purchasing a second-hand vehicle. Issues can range from undisclosed damage and mechanical difficulties to expired warranties and trouble finding replacement parts. Below are some elements to consider when drawing up a valid contract.

  • Offer and Acceptance:

The written document (contract) must express the intentions of both parties and highlight the material terms of the agreement.

  • Lawful:

The contract must also be lawful for it to be legal. There must be a legally binding obligation between the parties. For the contract to be lawful, it should constitute a legal agreement between the parties.

  • Legal Capacity to Contract:

It is also imperative to be mindful and to remember that the capacity to act is significant.

  • Understandable:

The contract must be certain and understood by both parties. The terms and conditions need to be clear.

  • Signed:

Once the written agreement has been agreed to, it is important to sign the document together with witnesses. 

Defective vehicles and legal protection

Buying a second-hand vehicle from a dealer means that the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) applies to your transaction and protects your rights. Essentially, the previously owned vehicle falls under what is defined as “goods” in the CPA. So, you are protected against defects.

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) states that all goods purchased must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Safe, good quality, in good working order, and free from any defects. If there are defects, the seller must state which defects to the buyer.
  2. Reasonably suitable for the purpose for which the goods are generally intended.
  3. Will be useable and durable for a reasonable period of time and the buyer must use the goods in accordance with what they were intended, for example not mishandle the goods.

Should the vehicle not meet these requirements, you have the right to return it (within six months after the purchase) and may insist on:

  1. Having the car repaired;
  2. Having the car replaced; or
  3. Obtain a full refund of the purchase price.

Of course, if you were made aware of any defects and still purchased the car, the CPA will not offer legal protection.