What You Need To Know Buying Second-Hand Motor Vehicles

Consumers need to check the purpose the vehicle was used for previously. For instance, if the vehicle has been used as a taxi it will have more mileage and might even have major defects in it.
09 Feb 2019 01:13
What You Need To Know Buying Second-Hand Motor Vehicles

Undoubtedly, owning a vehi­cle in this day and age has become a necessity.

However, buying a vehicle is amongst the most important finan­cial decision in a consumer’s life.

Many take up loans to finance the purchase of a vehicle. Hence, en­suring its road worthy and value for money should be a priority for consumers.

There are innumerable factors to be considered before finalising a deal.

These include checking the vehi­cle for physical appearance, func­tionality, warranty and its after sales service.

When dealing with the purchase of second-hand vehicles in par­ticular, it becomes more important for consumers to look into the ve­hicle specifications, warranty pro­vided and after sales services.

However, often in the excitement of signing off a deal, consumers tend to overlook key aspects of the second-hand vehicle.

They tend to believe in every­thing relayed by the sales person and make a decision without much thought and verification by an in­dependent person.

Given that motor vehicles play an important role in transporting people to places, it is imperative to consider its pros and cons in terms of having any hidden faults that may worsen after purchase and pose safety risks to family and friends.

Fiji roads have noted a significant increase in the number of vehi­cles.

With better affordability, many consumers opt for second-hand motor vehicles.

However, the Fijian Competi­tion and Consumer Commission (FCCC) wishes to enlighten con­sumers on certain factors they need to be wary off prior to pur­chasing a second-hand motor ve­hicle.

Complaints noted regarding second-hand motor vehicle sales

A second-hand motor vehicle is any used motor vehicle, imported in Fiji by a licensed car dealer, on their own or through an agent, upon meeting the legislative re­quirements of Fijian authorities.

Second-hand motor vehicle also includes any locally pre-owned motor vehicle that are acquired through trade-in, sale, auction or tender.

Over the years, FCCC has re­ceived influx of complaints per­taining to the automotive indus­try.

Most of the complaints are to do with second-hand motor vehicles. This can be attributed to lack of consumer knowledge about the vehicle they wish to purchase or limited information provided by the car dealer at the time of sale.

Many consumer complaints are based on vehicle dealer’s failure to honor the warranty on the ve­hicle.

For instance, in some cases con­sumers are not given written warranty documents despite car dealer informing them that vehi­cle has warranty.

Also, in a number of instances the vehicle dealer tends to mislead consumers by stating that a num­ber of aspects are covered under warranty for a certain period, however, the same information is not documented properly.

Other common complaints re­ceived are related to non-disclo­sure of full information, accept­ing payment and failure to supply and odometer tampering.

If not careful, consumers can be tricked into purchasing a vehicle which is not road worthy and can lead to financial constraints for the consumer.

From the complaints being received it can be gauged that consumers fail to exercise their rights by not asking the very ba­sic questions before engaging in a sale transaction with the vehicle dealer.

In efforts to empower consum­ers, FCCC continues to emphasis on consumer rights and obliga­tions when it comes to purchasing of goods or services in the Fijian market.

Advise to Consumers

It is imperative that before en­gaging in any sale transaction relating to second-hand vehicles, consumers do their research regarding the vehicle and look around for similar models in a number of outlets.

This will assist the consumer in having prior knowledge regarding the vehicle they wish to invest in.

Further, when scouting second-hand vehicles, consumers must ensure to check the following:

History of the vehicle:

All relevant information must be released to the consumer prior to the purchase of the vehicle which includes, the number of times the vehicle has changed hands, any road accident that the vehicle was involved in and any other relevant information that will have an im­pact on the decision of the con­sumer.


Consumers need to check the mileage record and compare it with the current mileage of the vehicle to ascertain the true read­ing and ensure it has not ran in ex­cess of the said mileage displayed by the trader.

Purpose of use before

Consumers need to check the purpose the vehicle was used for previously. For instance, if the vehicle has been used as a taxi it will have more mileage and might even have major defects in it.

Mechanical condition of the vehicle:

As a consumer you have the right to engage your mechanic to inspect the vehicle in order to ensure the vehicle is road worthy and that there is no mechanical condition that you might not have been informed about.

Should you find out through in­spection done by the Land Trans­port Authority (LTA) that the ve­hicle is not road worthy you may claim refund of deposit or the amount paid to the trader for the particular vehicle.

Test Drive:

As a consumer you can take the vehicle for a test drive prior to purchase to ensure that you have fully inspected the vehicle exte­rior, interior and how the vehicle functions on road.

Conditions on warranty:

Consumers can demand for the terms and conditions of the war­ranty in written from the vehi­cle dealer to ensure they do not breach the warranty and are eligi­ble for remedy should the vehicle malfunction within the given war­ranty period.

In stances where the vehicle dealer has authorised agents, you as a consumer must ask the vehi­cle dealer to provide their list of authorised agent’s details in writ­ing.

If any vehicle dealer refuses to provide this, you may approach FCCC to raise your grievance(s).

“As is where is basis”

Those consumers who are pur­chasing vehicle on “as is where is basis” condition need to ensure they have exercised and exhausted all consumer’s rights and are fully satisfied with the vehicle prior to purchase.

Once the vehicle is sold it be­comes the liability of the buyer, provided that he/she was fully informed of all the relevant infor­mation of the vehicle.

For more information/details on Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission and FCCC Act 2010, visit our website on


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