Guarantees and warranties for second-hand vehicles
Consumer protections for used car buyers increased from 1 September 2019.
Licensed motor dealers and chattel auctioneers need to provide a ‘class B’ statutory warranty when selling a car that is more than 10 years old or has an odometer reading of 160,000km or more. The warranty period is for 1 month or 1,000km, whichever comes first.
Under a statutory warranty, you guarantee that the vehicle is free from defects:
- at the time the buyer takes posession
- for the warranty period.
During the statutory warranty period, you must fix defects covered by the warranty at your expense.
Statutory warranty form
You must give the buyer a notification form before they sign the sale contract. This form will give them details about:
- the statutory warranty
- other relevant rules (such as the cooling-off period).
They will need to sign the form to confirm they have read and understood their rights.
Statutory warranty period
A 'class A' statutory warranty applies when the vehicle:
- has an odometer reading of less than 160,000km on the day of its sale
- has a built date of no more than 10 years before the day of its sale.
The 'class A' warranty expires after 3 months or the first 5,000km, whichever occurs first
From 1 September 2019, a ‘class B’ statutory warranty applies when the vehicle:
- has an odometer reading of 160,000km or more on the day of its sale
- has a built date of more than 10 years before the day of its sale.
The ‘class B’ warranty expires after 1 month or the first 1,000km, whichever occurs first.
Restorable vehicles are warranted vehicles that are more than 20 years old and are for sale for restoration. Restorable vehicles can be sold without a statutory warranty.
Restorable vehicles sold at auction are not covered by any statutory warranty.
If a restorable vehicle is sold other than at auction, the buyer can choose to waive the statutory warranty.
The following vehicles do not have a statutory warranty:
- caravans, meaning a trailer fitted, equipped, or used mainly
- for camping
- as a dwelling
- for carrying on any trade or business
- commercial vehicles
- vehicles being sold on consignment, unless the owner of the vehicle is a licensee
- an unregistered motor vehicle that is either
- not capable of being registered in Queensland because of its design
- a written-off vehicle
Motorhomes are generally covered by statutory warranty.
You must tell a buyer if a vehicle does not come with a statutory warranty.
You can do this by:
- clearly stating it in any advertisements for the vehicle
- putting a notice on the windshield or price tag
- placing signs at the main entrance to the dealership.
A statutory warranty will cover most defects. The vehicle has a defect if a part:
- does not do what it is supposed to do
- has worn out so much that it no longer works.
A statutory warranty does not cover defects in:
- tyres or tyre tubes, batteries, fitted airbags or radiator hoses
- lights (other than a warning light or a turn indicator light used as a hazard light)
- an installed radio, tape recorder or CD player
- an aerial, spark plug, wiper rubber, distributor point, oil or oil filter, heater hose, fuel or air filter
- paintwork or upholstery
- air conditioning ('class B' statutory warranties only).
Statutory warranty also doesn’t cover:
- accidental damage due to the buyer’s own misuse or negligence
- anything the buyer fitted to the vehicle after the time of sale.
Repairs under warranty
A buyer must notify you of a defect. You have 5 business days to decide if you will fix the defect under the warranty. You will need to contact them in writing before the end of the fifth day.
If you don’t reply in time, you cannot refuse to fix the defect (regardless of what caused it).
The buyer will have to deliver the vehicle to either:
- your premises
- an authorised repairer of your choice.
You must repair the defect within 14 days, unless you have an acceptable reason.
The authorised repairer should be less than 20km from your place of business. You can only use a more distant repairer if the buyer agrees to use them.
If the vehicle is more than 200km from your place of business, you may choose to either:
- nominate the qualified repairer nearest to the vehicle's location
- pay delivery costs to use your preferred repairer.
You must extend the warranty by 1 day for each day the vehicle is with you for repair or being repaired.
You must record the extension details, including the date:
- the buyer brought the vehicle in
- you returned the vehicle.
If you do not repair a defect, the buyer can take you to court. This can be:
- the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, if the claim is less than $25,000
- a magistrates court, if the claim is more than $25,000.
From 1 September 2019, the buyer can take a claim of up to $100,000 to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The tribunal or court will make a binding decision.
New vehicle warranty
You must still give a statutory warranty to the buyer even if the vehicle also includes a new vehicle warranty. However, the buyer can decide to have the manufacturer do repairs if they're required.
If you sell a used vehicle by auction, you must still give a statutory warranty unless the vehicle is exempt.
A consumer guarantee is a promise that you make to any consumer that buys goods or services. This includes vehicles and trailers.
Consumer guarantees apply in addition to any other warranty, including statutory warranty and manufacturer's warranty.
The consumer guarantees on a vehicle will apply:
- for a reasonable amount of time after the vehicle is sold
- even if the vehicle didn’t come with a statutory warranty
- regardless of any other warranties from the business
- even if other types of warranty have run out.
The amount of time that is reasonable:
- varies from vehicle to vehicle
- will depend on the price and quality of the specific vehicle
- is not defined by when other warranties run out.
What the consumer guarantees promise
You must guarantee that a vehicle you sell:
- is of acceptable quality
- matches any description or demonstration model
- is fit for any purpose that the consumer made known to you before buying (either expressly or by implication) or the purpose for which you said it would be fit for
- is legally available for you to sell
- comes with the right for the buyer to own and use it
- has a clear title
- will have spare parts and repairs available for a reasonable time
- will live up to any other promise that you make about its quality, condition, performance or characteristics.
You cannot refuse to honour a consumer guarantee. Nor can the buyer sign them away.
Consumer guarantees will not cover:
- accidental damage due to the buyer’s misuse or negligence
- anything the buyer fitted to the vehicle after the sale.
How they work
A buyer can seek a remedy if a vehicle doesn’t meet a consumer guarantee.
Find out more about remedies and refunds.
Under consumer guarantees, a failure may be corrected by:
- returning the vehicle for a refund or a replacement
- getting repairs to the vehicle
- compensating the consumer, such as for a drop in value.