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RV buyers are being warned about apparent bargains after recent floods and must take extra care before handing over their hard-earned cash.

Queensland's Assistant Commissioner for Fair Trading, Anthony Crack, said consumers buying vehicles following flood events needed to be very wary of vehicles that may have been affected by flood waters.

"Consumers buying a vehicle or RV should exercise due diligence by having a pre-purchase inspection undertaken by a qualified mechanic to gauge the extent of any water damage before they make the purchase," he said.

While flood damaged vehicles may seem to be a bargain initially, there were some issues which could mean it will end up costing buyers further down the track. Factors consumers should take into consideration:

  • Insurers might refuse to offer any insurance or charge higher premiums for a flood-affected vehicle or RV.
  • Future repairs: Even with a pre-purchase inspection, some unforeseen issues might arise.
  • Future value when you are ready to on-sell

"When you buy a second-hand vehicle, make sure you look out for signs of water damage and question the seller as to where the vehicle has been," Mr Crack advised. "If you have any concerns, ask them specifically if it has been affected by the floods.

“Buying from a licensed motor dealer will give you more protection because they have specific rules they must follow to sell water-damaged vehicles and caravans, including telling you if it is a statutory write-off or a repairable write-off or has previously been a repairable write-off."

Consumers thinking about buying a second-hand car or caravan privately should also do their homework by:

  • Getting an independent mechanical inspection.
  • Obtaining an auto-electrical inspection as water might have affected electrical items.
  • Checking the Written-Off Vehicle Register.
  • Getting a Personal Properties Securities Rregister (PPSR)
  • Getting a quote for insurance costs.

At the end of the day the onus is on the buyer to do due diligence, so remember the old axiom: Caveat emptor – buyer beware…

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