Used vehicle buyers be alert

Buyers of used vehicles have been cautioned to be extra careful in the selection of a purchase.

According to a statement made by the Office of the Motor Industry Ombudsman (MIO) the weakening of the used vehicle market will result in dealers offering good deals in order to move units, albeit at lower profits.

Ombudsman Johan van Vreden says however, that there are excellent systems in place to protect used car buyers and urges them to make themselves aware of these systems when venturing into the market.

All the major retail groups in the country are subscribers to the office of the MIO, binding themselves to the rulings made by the Ombudsman in the case of a dispute.

All dealers subscribing to the MIO are recognisable by the display of notices.
Prospective buyers can also identify subscribing dealers on the MIO website.

Van Vreden says that in the six years of its existence the MIO office has grown significantly and gained the respect of both the industry and the buying public.

“Most complaints received by our office concern used vehicle purchases which outnumber new vehicle complaints by some eight to one. Most of the problems come from the purchase of so-called cheapies, but buyers must understand that if you buy anything voetstoots it will probably cost you additional money to get it to your desired standard.”

The best advice van Vreden can give on buying a used vehicle is:
• Ensure you are dealing with a reputable dealer who is part of the MIO programme;
• Make sure you read and understand all the documentation you have to sign. If you are not sure of certain clauses, take it home and get a knowledgeable person to go through it with you and explain the detail to you;
• Be patient. Remember its your time and your money. Don’t let anybody rush you into a decision.
• If you are unsure, have a knowledgeable person accompany you to help check the vehicle before you make a decision.
• Keep copies of all documents you are requested to sign as well as the invoice and roadworthy document.

Adhering to these simple rules can save the buyer a lot of trouble, time and money.

All complaints to the Ombudsman’s office must be in writing and a complaint form can be downloaded at

For further information please call the Motor Industry Ombudsman of SA on (012) 841-2945 or fax your complaint to (012) 841-2842. You can also visit the Ombudsman’s web site at, or e-mail your complaint to

Issued by Ruben Els, Media Ignition, tel: 083 302 6602 on behalf of the Office of the Motor Industry Ombudsman