The Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal has ordered a car dealer to pay $16,000 to the buyer of a car because the dealer failed to mention that the car had previously been written off due to water damage.

The buyer purchased the car in 2015 and had driven over 5000 kilometres in the vehicle.  The car had little to no sign of water damage and worked well for the 5 years that the buyer used it.

The Tribunal decided that the stigma surrounding a car that has been written off will have a significant negative impact on the resale value, regardless of whether the car is in good working condition or not.

This led to the Tribunal deciding that the dealer had breached fair trading standards and that the sale was therefore void.

The Tribunal took into account the use of the vehicle that the buyer had over the 5 year period by awarding a sum that was $5000 less than the amount the buyer originally purchased the car for.

When selling goods it is important to disclose accurate and relevant details to the buyer regarding the quality of the item. If the dealer in this case had provided an accurate description of the car to the buyer, the buyer could have decided whether or not to purchase the vehicle and would not have had a claim against the dealer.

If you are concerned that you have purchased an item that is in breach of fair trading standards, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.