Motor Vehicles

Thinking about buying a second-hand car privately?

Before purchasing a car through a private sale, we recommend that you check the Personal Property Security Register (“PPSR”). The PPSR is an online database that records whether the car you want to buy has been used as collateral for a loan, written off in an insurance claim, or reported as stolen.

If the car has been used as collateral for a loan and you go ahead and buy it; there is a very real chance the lender listed on the PPSR report will repossess the car from you.

For more information on the PPSR, and how to use it, visit the PPSR website or call our advice line on (08) 9221 7066.

Thinking about purchasing a new or used car from a dealer?

Contract to buy a car

A contract to buy a car from a dealer will contain a list of ‘conditions’ on the back of the contract. These conditions describe the rights and obligations of the buyer and the dealer including:

  • Finance requirements
  • Delivery date
  • Rights to terminate the contract

We recommend you read the terms and conditions before signing any contract.

In Western Australia there is no cooling-off period for a contract to buy a motor vehicle, which means, once you sign the contract you are bound to go through with the purchase.

By law, the dealer must give you a copy of the contract at the time you sign it.

Subject to Finance

If you are planning on applying for a car loan to purchase a car you may wish to read the information below. Before signing a contract to purchase a car, you may wish to write in the Special Conditions section of the contract the words “SUBJECT TO FINANCE”.

In the event that you are unable to obtain a car loan for whatever reason (as long as you make reasonable attempts to obtain the loan), this special condition will allow you to terminate the contract and obtain a refund of any deposit you have paid. If you have signed a contract to purchase a car, and were unsuccessful in obtaining finance, you may wish to call our advice line on (08) 9221 7066 to discuss your options.

For more information, visit the Consumer Protection website and search for “buying a vehicle” using the search function in the top right corner; or call our advice line on (08) 9221 7066.


Thinking about applying for a loan to buy your car?

Loan Contract

A loan contract is a separate contract between you and a lender, such as a bank. The dealer is not part of this contract and you do not have to obtain the loan from the dealership. You may wish to shop around for the best loan for you.
Every application for a car loan will be recorded on your credit file, even if you do not go ahead with the loan. Click here for more information on credit files.

Before signing a car loan contract you should read the terms and conditions carefully, paying close attention to:

  • All fees and interest rates;
  • Repayment amounts and frequency of repayments;
  • The total amount you will have paid at the end of the loan period;
  • Any insurance requirements; and
  • What happens if you can’t make a repayment.

If you are behind on your car loan repayments, your options include:

Applying for a hardship variation

Negotiating an arrangement to pay by installments or to settle the debt

Refinancing the loan

If you are unable to make your repayments on your car loan and you do nothing, the lender may issue you with a default notice, or eventually repossess the car.

For more information you may wish to read our fact sheets on Default Notices and Repossession.

If you are having difficulty meeting your repayments and would like advice, call CCLSWA for a free, confidential discussion on (08) 9221 7066. Our telephone advice line is open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 9am and 4pm.

Information on our website is provided for information only and is not legal advice. For legal advice please contact CCLSWA.