Buyer beware of online car buying: RACQ

RACQ has warned car buyers to do their research before signing on the dotted line, after a new report found more people were purchasing a vehicle online, without doing a test drive.

Drive reported a survey of 700 buyers found almost one quarter of respondents would be confident in buying a car without seeing it, if it was protected by guarantees and a warranty.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said there were several things to consider before buying online.

“It’s important to remember there’s a higher risk the advertisement could be fake, or you could be buying a stolen car with a fake identity,” he said.

“If you’re not seeing the car in person, there’s also concern the car has defects which aren’t disclosed, which could end up being costly.

“Unless you’re familiar with the make and model there’s a chance you may get the car home only to discover it doesn’t meet your expectations.”

Mr Spalding said before buying a car it was crucial to undertake the right checks.

“Never rely on the offer of a warranty over checking a car, as many mechanical or bodywork defects on a used car aren’t covered by warranties,” he said.

“Background checks are even more important with a car which is advertised online, you don’t want to find out the car is stolen, has finance owing on it or has been written off after you’ve bought it.

“Always arrange for someone independent of the seller to check a car, like RACQ, before handing over money and remember a roadworthy is not a substitute for an independent inspection, it only covers essential roadworthy items.

“Finally, make sure you arrange the freight if you’re buying remotely, or have full details of the transport arrangements – but only do this if you are satisfied the car’s condition matches what’s advertised and the seller is genuine.”