RESOLVING COMMON BUSINESS VEHICLE ISSUES – A GUIDE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

As a business owner, purchasing a vehicle for your business can be a significant investment. However, if you find yourself dealing with constant issues and unexpected expenses, it can quickly become a source of frustration. To avoid ending up with a ‘lemon’, it’s crucial to take proactive steps and conduct due diligence before making a purchase. In this article, we’ll outline some key measures to help you resolve common business vehicle issues.

When considering a second-hand vehicle purchase, the warranties and guarantees available to you will depend on whether you buy from a licensed dealer or privately, such as through online platforms or auctions. Licensed dealers generally offer limited warranties and are subject to obligations under Australian Consumer Law (ACL). However, private purchases come with no warranties or guarantees, which means it’s a “buyer beware” situation.

 

Essential pre-purchase checks for business vehicles

Key steps to take before purchasing a business vehicle:

  • Schedule a full mechanical inspection: Don’t rely solely on the word of the previous owner. Pay for a comprehensive mechanical inspection to obtain an objective assessment of the vehicle’s condition. This step is particularly crucial when purchasing at auctions or online, where it’s easier to overlook potential issues.
  • Check the Personal Property and Security Register (PPSR): Use the PPSR to verify if there are any outstanding debts on the vehicle, prior write-offs, or if it’s reported as stolen. This will help you avoid legal and financial complications down the line.
  • Review the used car warranties information: Visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) website to familiarise yourself with the warranties that apply when buying a second-hand vehicle from a licensed dealer. Additionally, the website provides a list of vehicles not covered by statutory warranties and an overview of which parts are included or excluded from such warranties.
  • Assess online or auction terms of purchase: If you’re purchasing a vehicle through online platforms or auctions, carefully read through the terms of purchase provided. In most cases, there will be no warranty or guarantee, which means you’ll be responsible for any issues that arise post-purchase.

 

When considering a new vehicle purchase, the manufacturer typically offers specified guarantees for a limited period. However, these guarantees may have specific conditions regarding vehicle usage.

 

Tips for a seamless business vehicle purchase

Inquire about the guarantees

Before purchasing a new vehicle, ask the dealership about the guarantees they provide. If your business requires the vehicle to withstand certain conditions, such as regularly transporting heavy goods, confirm if it can handle these demands. If the dealer makes promises regarding the vehicle’s performance or capabilities, ensure they are covered in the manufacturer’s guarantee, or request them in writing.

If you encounter issues with your vehicle after the purchase, resolving them will depend on whether you bought the vehicle through a dealer or privately, as well as the terms of sale outlined in your contract.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Purchased from a dealer: If you bought your vehicle from a licensed dealer, refer to your contract of sale and the ACL to determine your entitlements and their duration. If you believe you’re entitled to have a problem fixed by the dealer but encounter difficulties, reach out to the dispute resolution service for assistance.
  • Purchased privately: If you purchased the vehicle privately, you’ll be responsible for any necessary repairs and associated costs.

 

It’s important to note that under the ACL, licensed dealers cannot refuse a remedy solely because the purchase was made on behalf of your business. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides a comprehensive guide on motor vehicle sales and repairs, outlining the protections the ACL offers to businesses as consumers.

To mitigate disruptions caused by vehicle issues, it’s crucial to have a contingency plan in place. Consider the following measures:

  • Discuss coverage options with your insurance broker: Speak to your insurance broker regarding coverage options for loss of income or the possibility of hiring a replacement vehicle. Having the right insurance coverage can provide financial protection during unexpected downtime.
  • Regular maintenance and repairs: Ensure you prioritise regular maintenance and repairs by working with a reputable service provider. Staying on top of maintenance can help prevent major issues and keep your vehicle running smoothly.
  • Develop a risk management plan: Prepare a risk management plan specific to your business to identify and assess potential risks associated with unexpected vehicle downtime. By proactively addressing these risks, you can better prepare for and mitigate disruptions.

 

Take control of your business vehicle purchases and resolve common issues with confidence. Before making a purchase, remember to conduct thorough inspections, check warranties, and understand your rights. Whether it’s a second-hand vehicle or a new one, don’t leave anything to chance. And if you’re faced with post-purchase problems, know your options and seek assistance when needed.

 

Conclusion

At Regency Partners, we understand that each business and their vehicle needs are unique. We recognise the importance of purchasing reliable vehicles tailored to your specific requirements. Our team is dedicated to providing personalised support and guidance to help you navigate the challenges of acquiring business vehicles. Don’t let vehicle issues hinder your success – take charge and drive your business forward!

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Katheryn Rogers

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