f1dea135ad06bbeb04a16ae9585bb54ef9c6f5a0 what are your rights when trading in a car

Trading-in a car involves more processes than selling your car for cash. Research should therefore be #1 on your to do list, before trading in your car. In fact, doing research first will also help you get to know your rights and responsibilities when trading in your car. Hence, allowing for a smooth car trade-in experience and avoid potential hassles of expensive courts.

Luckily, if you are trading-in your car, it means that you will be visiting various dealerships. But why luckily? Well, simply because selling your used car privately or selling your second hand car on auction, means that you will receive less legal protection from the law. Following the route towards a dealership is safe, as you can expect maximum legal protection with the least risk; however, be weary of the common scams, fraud and ripping-off schemes that some dealers may put you through. In this case, knowing your rights when trading in a car is therefore vital to afford these car trade-in risks.

CarZar lends a gear and steers you into discovering your car trade-in rights, under the Consumer Rights Act.

Implemented in October 2015, a Section in the Consumer Rights Act covers new and used cars from dealerships, as well as motor vehicle maintenance, servicing and repairs. The Consumer Rights Act lays its foundations on good ‘quality’, ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘as described’.

In the case of ‘satisfactory quality’, all cars should be in a reasonably acceptable condition, while taking into account the car’s make, description, age, mileage, value, history, safety and durability. Dealers are also not held responsible for wear-and-tear, in the case where the car has broken down or a fault emerged.

When trading-in your for a new one, you have the right to be able to use the ‘new’ car purchased, for the purpose it was bought for and for the purpose you told the dealer about, or as advertised. If the car develops a fault, you are entitled to reject the car within 30-days. If you become aware of the fault only after the 30-day period but before 6-months, you have the right to demand a refund, replacement or repair.


When trading-in a car, dealers have to conform to the requirements stipulated in the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, bans dealerships from practicing unfair business strategies, such as:

  1. Providing false information.
  2. Not disclosing or hiding relevant information about the car.
  3. Acting aggressively by using increased-pressure selling techniques.
  4. No acting according to the reasonably accepted expectations.
  5. Falsely claiming:
  • To be a Code of Practice signatory or authorised by a public/private body.
  • A vehicle will be available for a limited time to elicit immediate buying decisions.

The best thing to do if the car you traded-in for is not of satisfactory quality, is ask for legal advice with the right questions and have agreements made in writing. This may include:

  • Modifications, accident and repair history of the car.
  • Dealer mechanical, history and mileage checks.
  • The dealership’s status as a Code of Practice and customer disputes process.
  • The amount of owners the car has had.

The above information is simply a guide and does not change any laws, rules and regulations, as stipulated in the South African Consumer Rights Act or Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

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