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 is 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.

Before you begin

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

Who can apply

You can make a claim if you:

  • bought a second-hand vehicle from a licensed dealer and there is a warranty claim
  • left the vehicle with the dealer on consignment
  • sold a vehicle to a licensed dealer but have not 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 you'll need

You'll need to provide evidence such as:

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


There is an application fee of $150. This can be refunded (partly or in full) depending on the success of the claim.

Apply now

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 will need to seek independent legal advice.

Find free legal advice near you.

Related information


Second-Hand Vehicle Dealers Act 1995

Contact CBS

Online: Contact CBS

Phone131 882

In person:
91 Grenfell Street

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 18 February 2019

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
Last Updated:
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