Claims against a second-hand vehicle dealer

The Second-hand Vehicle Dealers' Compensation Fund allows people to make a claim against a dealer if there's no reasonable way of recovering the money they are owed.

Compensation is only awarded when, for example:

  • the court has awarded payment but the dealer has been declared bankrupt
  • a company has gone into liquidation and you have an outstanding warranty claim
  • a dealer is deceased.

Contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS) to get advice before making a claim. CBS might be able to help you negotiate with the trader and could call a compulsory conciliation conference to try and resolve the dispute.

You'll need to provide evidence such as:

  • advertisements
  • contracts
  • emails and snapshots of text messages.

Application fee: $150.00 - this can be refunded (partly or in full) depending on the success of the claim.

Who can apply

Who can apply

You can make a claim if you:

  • bought a second-hand vehicle from a licensed dealer and there's a warranty claim
  • left the vehicle with the dealer on consignment
  • sold a vehicle to a licensed dealer but haven't been paid
  • bought a vehicle but decided to cancel the purchase during the cooling-off period.

You can't make a claim if you:

  • are a dealer
  • bought a second-hand vehicle at auction
  • knowingly bought the vehicle from an unlicensed dealer.

What happens next

Each claim is considered on a case by case basis. The process may take up to four months depending on a number of factors.

The Commissioner for Consumer Affairs determines the outcome of a claim. However, if you or the dealer disagree with the decision, an appeal can be made to the Magistrates Court.

If you decide to appeal the decision, you'll need to seek independent legal advice.

Find free legal advice near you.

Contact CBS

Online: Contact CBS

Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

Related information


Second-Hand Vehicle Dealers Act 1995

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Page last updated 7 December 2022

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