Evidence of the large increase in car sales this year is witnessed with all the 161 registrations travelling the country.  As we move into the ‘162 reg’ season, more people are considering a new car, and an influx of second hand cars as a result.  Unfortunately some sales come at a price!

If you are buyingCheck if there is a finance agreement still in place

This particular point has been highlighted recently as an increasing problem given the number of newer second-hand cars available.

The problem is where a person is upgrading to a newer car, selling their older car, but without having paid off the finance on the car they are selling.  So, where does that leave the purchaser?  If the car is still under finance, the person selling it doesn’t have the right to sell it, as they don’t own it until the last finance payment has been made.  They may have the log book and registration documents but it is the finance company who owns the car and you run the risk of the car being repossessed by the owner (the finance company).  There is a much higher risk of this happening if you buy from a private seller so be sure to check if there is existing finance as it could be a very expensive lesson to learn otherwise!

If you are buyingKnow the facts

It is an offence for a car dealer to withhold or provide false information in relation to a car’s history, specification or repair work needed.  There is no such regulation in relation to private sales, so get a good mechanic to check it out.

If you are sellingDon’t forget to update the ownership details

If you sell or trade-in your car, you should update the owner details on the NVDF (National Vehicle and Driver File) in Shannon.  Don’t assume the dealer or private owner will do it!

If the car continues in your name, you are legally liable for any charges including, motor tax, toll charges, parking fines etc.  It is a small detail that can often be overlooked, so avoid the hassle and put it on your to-do list.

What if things go wrong…

Buying from a car dealer

There is protection in that the car should be as described and fit for purpose.  You may get the problem remedied via the SIMI (Society of Irish Motoring Industry) or via the Small Claims procedure if the amount sought is under €2k.  Otherwise you may need to take legal action.

Buying from a private seller

There is no protection and no warranty outside of any existing manufacturing warranty.  You can’t go through the Small Claims as that procedure only deals with claims against a business not another consumer.  You may need to take legal action if you encounter a problem, so ensure you get all the necessary contact details of the private seller at the time of the transaction.

As Always—Buyer Beware!