VIC Won Car at Auction - Sale was Cancelled but No Refund

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Elijah Liech

25 September 2015
The vehicle was put up for auction on lane 3 and on 16th September 2015 I put up a bid and won. I subsequently paid for the car in full on the same day. On collection of the car the same day, it broke down and was towed to my mechanic's shop at Northern Auto-Tech Repairs Pty Ltd. The mechanic determined that the vehicle required an alternator and major engine works to enable it to run. The car had an evident engine knock.

On 21st September, 2015 the Auction company asked me to bring the car back to the car yard for inspection by their mechanics upon which they would make a decision on how to move forward with my complaint. I organized for the car to be towed back to the yard on the same day.

On the same day they called me back at 2 p.m. to inform me that based on their internal procedures they had decided to cancel the sale. Further to that they offered to transfer the amount that I had paid for the auction process to a voucher that I could use to bid for another car in their auctions. I declined the offer and requested that they refund the money to me as I did not want to go through the trauma that this experience put me and my family through again. They said that it was okay and promised to mail the cheque of the same amount back to my address in a couple of days.

On 24th September 2015 they called me at 3 p.m. to inform me that they would not be refunding the money since the original seller had refused to pay.

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Elijah,

If they are not delivering you the car they promised, they are expected to refund you the money back. It's not reasonable that they take your money and not give you the car. The auction costs is an arrangement between you and the auction house, unless the offer was explicitly made conditional upon the vendor paying for it, they cannot back out on the agreement based on the actions of the vendor. You may have a complaint against the auction house under Australian Consumer Law. Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria to have a chat about your rights and how they may help you resolve the dispute with the auction house. Make it clear to them that it is not a dispute between you and the vendor of the car, but between you and the auction house (who is offering a service).

Alternatively, you can contact VCAT.