Compensation claims - cars

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If you have suffered a loss after purchasing a car from a Victorian motor car trader, you can make a claim for compensation from the Motor Car Traders Guarantee Fund if you meet one of the prescribed grounds.

The Motor Car Traders Claims Committee determines all claims. The maximum amount it can award is $40,000.

There is no fee to make a claim.

Claims covered

Claims can be made on motor cars, motor bikes and commercial vehicles purchased from a motor car trader licensed in Victoria.

A claim can be made if a motor car trader does not:

  • repair a fault covered by statutory warranty provisions (this applies to motor cars but not to motorbikes or commercial vehicles)
  • transfer a clear title to the car
  • pay part or all of the purchase price to you (or somebody acting on your behalf) if you have sold them a car
  • pay transfer, registration fees or stamp duty to VicRoads
  • provide a roadworthy certificate or other documents necessary for the motor car to be registered
  • pass on money paid as a premium or purchase price for an insurance policy or warranty
  • satisfy a court order or an order from VCAT
  • refund the purchase price or a deposit following cancellation of a contract
  • deliver the motor car after receiving payment of the purchase price.

A claim can also be made if a motor car trader engages in:

  • consignment selling
  • odometer tampering
  • disposal of a motor car given as a trade-in before your cooling-off period expires.

Compensation claims for a mechanical fault will only be paid where it is covered by the statutory warranty, which applies where the:

  • motor car is less than 10 years old and has travelled less than 160,000 kilometres.
  • fault occurred within 3 months and 5,000 kilometres of purchase.
  • vehicle is not a motorbike or commercial vehicle.

Statutory warranty provisions apply only to used motor cars.

Claims not covered

The Motor Car Traders Claims Committee (the committee) cannot pay a claim from the fund if:

  • the motor car trader:

o was not licensed in Victoria at the relevant time, unless you reasonably believed that they were. This means that claims cannot be paid for vehicles purchased from a private seller or an interstate motor car trader

  • the vehicle has a mechanical fault where:

o the vehicle is not covered by statutory warranty; or
o the vehicle was purchased at an auction

  • the claim relates to a breach of Australian Consumer Law
  • the claim relates to consequential loss, for example where you are claiming lost wages due to being unable to drive the car or fines for driving an unregistered car.

If your situation is one that the fund cannot consider, you may still be able to take your case to a court or to VCAT.

You can also ask us to assist you to resolve your dispute with the motor car trader. To enquire about making a claim, 
contact us.

How to claim

If you have been unable to resolve your complaint with the motor car trader and are eligible to make a claim, please complete the Application for compensation - Motor Car Traders Guarantee Fund (Word, 120KB).

The committee does not conduct face-to-face meetings. You must provide all information in writing, so it is important you give as much information as possible about your claim when filling out the application form.

You should:

  • give a full description of events that led up to your claim, your dealings with the motor car trader and what attempts you have made to resolve the matter with them
  • attach copies of all documents that relate to your claim. Depending on your claim, these may include:
    • the contract of sale
    • invoices
    • the finance agreement
    • receipts and cheques (or cheque butts)
    • independent mechanical reports
    • quotes and invoices relating to repair work
    • Certificate of roadworthiness
    • correspondence between you and the motor car trader, or to you from finance companies or VicRoads
    • a warrant authorising the seizure by police of a motor car suspected of being stolen
    • any other relevant documents.

If you do not have a relevant document, you should tell the committee and explain the reason you do not have it.

You can lodge your application by email, to, or by post addressed to:

The Secretary
Motor Car Traders Claims Committee
GPO Box 322
Melbourne VIC 3001

You should retain a copy of each document provided to the committee for your records.

If you provide false or misleading information to the committee, you may be fined up to $5000.

After you lodge a claim

After you have lodged a claim, you will be sent a letter acknowledging receipt of it.

A copy of your claim and supporting documents will be sent to the licensed motor car trader. They will be asked to:

  • provide a written account of the dealings that have led to the claim, and attempts to resolve it
  • provide copies of all relevant documents
  • provide information they want the committee to take into account when determining the claim
  • respond to the committee by a certain date and time.

The committee may need to make further enquiries or seek further information from:

  • you
  • the motor car trader
  • other people or agencies, such as Victoria Police, VicRoads or finance companies.

After all information has been received and the necessary enquiries made, the committee will consider the claim and will decide whether to:

  • pay the claim or part of the claim, or
  • defer the claim for further consideration, to allow for further enquiries to be made, or
  • refuse to pay the claim.

When the committee has made its decision, it will notify both you and the motor car trader in writing.

If your claim or a component of it cannot be considered, the committee may refer it to the appropriate body or provide you with the contact details of another organisation who may help you resolve your complaint.

If a claim is paid, the committee will authorise payment from the fund and send you a cheque.

If you want any payment from your claim to be made to another person or company (for example, an agent, solicitor or finance company), please download and complete the Application for compensation - Motor Car Traders Guarantee Fund (Word, 120KB).

Appeal rights

Both you and the motor car trader have the right to appeal against a decision made by the committee.

Appeals can be made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and must be lodged within 28 days of the committee's decision.

For more information, contact VCAT on 1300 01 8228 (1300 01 VCAT) or visit the VCAT website. Calling this number costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you call from overseas, on a mobile or payphone.


For information on the privacy statement, view Motor Car Traders Claims Committee.