Several areas of law relate to buying a car. These include the laws dealing with contracts, A debt that does not have to be paid until some future time. Being allowed to pay later, in the future, for something you are getting now. and fair trading. The major pieces of Statutory rules made by parliament or by bodies the parliament delegates power to, for example a local council or a registration authority. See delegated legislation; statute. related to buying a car are the:
- Motor Car Traders A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1986 (Vic);
- Motor Car Traders Regulations 2018 (Vic);
- Any property that is not freehold land (real property). Securities Act 2009 (Cth);
- Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic);
- Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations 2009 (Vic).
Motor Car Traders Act and Regulations
The Motor Car Traders Act 1986 (Vic) (‘MCT Act’) deals with the rights and obligations of purchasers and car traders, including rights related to minimum standards of documentation and used car warranties. It also provides for the licensing of car traders.
Personal Property Securities Act
The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) set up the A legal charge over a chattel or other personal property that guarantees repayment of a debt. The charge stops the debtor selling the property until the debt is paid off, and debtor agrees to give up the property to cover repayments if the debtor fails to pay. Similar to a mortgage over real property (land or real estate). Register (PPSR), which enables a purchaser to check whether anyone other than the seller (e.g. a finance company) has an interest in a car. You should check the PPSR if buying a used car privately.
Road Safety Act and Regulations
The relevant provisions of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) (‘RS Act’) and the Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations 2009 (Vic) (‘RSV Regulations’) deal with the sale of cars, vehicle registration, written-off vehicles and roadworthiness certificates. VicRoads also issues Business Rules.
Unless otherwise specified, the information in this chapter applies to the purchase of new and used cars.
From 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, the value of one penalty unit (pu) is $165.22 under Victorian state law. For more information, see ‘A note about penalty units’ at the start of this book.
Useful terms and definitions
- Motor car trader (‘car trader’): A person who carries on the business of trading in cars (s 3 MCT Act). A car trader must be licensed (s 7). You can tell if a seller is a licensed car trader (LMCT) by checking for signs at the dealership and advertisements with ‘LMCT’ followed by the car trader’s licence number. A private seller may be Treated by the law as if something is the case, even if that is not the reality. For example, children may be deemed to have the same home as their parents, whether they actually live there or not. Or a person may be deemed to have given their consent to something if they hear about it and do not object. Compare rebuttable. to be trading in cars if they sell four or more cars in a 12-month period (s 7A).
- PPSR: The Personal Property Money or property promised to be handed over as a guarantee for repayment of a loan, or as a guarantee that a defendant will meet their bail conditions. Register, which records details of security interests in vehicles.
- Purchaser: A person acquiring (1) Having control over property. Possession is not the same as ownership. For example, a bicycle you have borrowed from a friend is in your possession but you do not own it. (2) Having illegal drugs on your person or property. of a car.
- Registered operator: The person or corporation that owns or manages a car (reg 13 RSV Regulations). Note that the register at VicRoads does not provide Material presented to a court to prove or disprove a fact. It can include what witnesses say as well as documents and other objects. of title (s 9B RS Act). It records the registered operator as the A person who makes decisions about medical treatment for a person who cannot give informed consent to it themselves. See also informed consent. for the car (s 3(1)).
- Registration certificate: This is issued by VicRoads. It shows details including the name and address of the registered operator, the make of the car, its garage address, registration number, VIN (see below), engine or chassis number if there is no VIN, and the date the car is registered until (reg 41 RSV Regulations).
- Rescind, The ending of a contract in a manner that places the parties to the contract in the position they were in before the contract existed (where restitution is possible). For example, in a rescission of a contract for the sale of a car the seller would get back the car and the buyer would get back their purchase money. See also termination., rescinding: The legal cancellation of a An agreement that the law will enforce..
- Roadworthiness certificate: This is issued by a licensed tester (reg 227 RSV Regulations) and is current if it is issued within 30 days before the disposal of the car (s 42A(4) MCT Act).
- An interest in or power over property to secure payment of a debt or obligation, generally in the form of a mortgage, charge or lien.: This is an interest in, or power over, goods (e.g. a goods A restriction attached to ownership of property to secure the repayment of money borrowed. The mortgage stops the owner of the property selling it until they have paid off the debt. over a car bought on finance) to secure the payment of a Money that is owed by one person or business to another. or other obligation.
- Seller: A person disposing of a car (a car is usually registered in the seller’s name).
- Transfer of registration/disposal and acquisition: This includes the sale, gift, inheritance or delivery of a car in accordance with a An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. order (reg 74 RSV Regulations).
- VIN: A car’s individual vehicle identification number, which is permanently marked on its frame or chassis.