Can I get a refund for a private sale car?

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24 July 2020

I recently brought a car that advertised RWC and rego on gumtree and decided to buy it. This is the first time I’ve brought a car through private sale and I didn’t know that the RWC has to be within 2 months of transferring ownership. I found this out after I went to the TMR centre to transfer ownership. Am I entitled to get a refund? What if they don’t give me back my money and don’t get a RWC am I forced to get the RWC?

Tim W

LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
Let's be clear about a couple of things.

1. A private sale is not a transaction to which the Australian Consumer law applies.
So no, no automatic entitlement to a refund (nor indeed to repair or replacement)

2. Yes, the seller is obliged to deal with you fairly and honestly as part of the general law of contract.
But the cost of suing the guy will probably be greater than the cost of the RWC.

3. Do not be surprised to learn that the vehicle will need several thousand dollars worth of repairs
before it can get a RWC.

4. Yes, you've basically done your money.
Truth be, people sell cars privately to...
  • conceal the need of lots of expensive repairs;
  • to take advantage of naive people generally;
  • hide behind caveat emptor ("buyer beware"),
    knowing full well that most "normal" people
    (that is, people who are not mechanical/ technical, or, say sophisticated collectors )
    are easy pickings
5. For general info about transferring rego in Queensland, have a read of this.


24 July 2020
Hi Tim,

Thanks so much for your reply. I suspected so. 😞 Yep Im one of those people who start reading up everything on transferring ownership after making the mistake and looking like an idiot at the TMR centre.

But lets say the car does have several thousand dollars worth of repair. I did take a screen shot of the ad showing that the car has RWC before the ad was removed, as well as messages saying he would get the RWC done. Would it be worth suing than; over getting the repairs done?