Unregistered van sale - illegal?

Submitted: Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 12:49
ThreadID: 92146 Views:3311 Replies:10 FollowUps:19
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Just after thoughts.
I organised the purchase on the internet (for an older friend 1st van) of a 2nd hand pop top from a dealer in Victoria. We drove down (650 km) to inspect. Van presented as advertised and we purchased it. The dealer could not locate the rego papers. We towed the van home.
We knew that the van would have to be weighed and inspected in NSW to be registered. That's when we discovered that the van's Vic rego had expired . My fault as I should have looked at the rego label. I was too pre occupied looking for structural faults/water damage etc.
My question is:
Does a dealer have a legal obligation to provide a registered van for sale? Or at least TELL US that the van is not registered. We did insure it prior to departing the dealer's yard.. but I am sure that would not have meant anything if we were involved in an accident on the way home. Surely a bill of sale does not constitute a travel permit.
Interested in the opinions of the forum.
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 13:51

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 13:51
Hi Ian,
sounds like a very dodgy dealer to me. Probably knew full well it wasn't registered. I would be checking to make sure it hasn't been stolen and onsold. Unregistered = uninsured.....You will need to check with your local MVR as to their requirements to get it rego'd. Hope you have good proof of ownership.
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AnswerID: 478826

Follow Up By: david m5 - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:03

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:03
Registration is not considered proof of ownership.
FollowupID: 754338

Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:11

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:11
Fred, no dramas with rego in NSW. It is registered in my friend's name now.
FollowupID: 754341

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:02

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:02
"could not locate the rego papers"..yeh right

Was the vans sold as being registered?
Were there transfer documents signed?

If the van was over 750Kg was there a roadworthy certificate provided or and inspection conducted?
If it has gas installed and 240V electrical, were there certificates of inspection for those?

Did you have a revs check done.

Even if the van had a current sticker on it, that is no guarantee that it is registered.

My guess is that it was never registered in the dealers name.

Lots of dealers will not cough up the cost of compliance and transfer of regestration till they have the thing sold..so guess what?

There used to be all sorts of dodgy underhanded things done in car sales in the past.......the various authorities and came down on that area pretty heavily...so all the dodgy sales people have shifted across to areas that are far less regulated like selling traiiers, caravans , boats and mobile phones.

Let the buyer beware.

As far as the insurance....in general the motor liabilty resides with the towing vehicle.....it would depend on how generous your insurer was regarding any accident.

AnswerID: 478828

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:12

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:12
OH..if the van was ever registered in the dealers name......he will want those plates and possibly the sticker.

The transport authorities are very interested in where expired plates are, and if a dealer has not surendered plates that were in his name, he will be getting a fea in the ear over it.

I'd be making a few checks with the transport authority in the original state of rego.....best to use the.."surrendering expired plates" line of enquiry.

I'm not sure but they may consider it a vehicle with "expired regestration" rather than an "unregistered vehicle", till the plates are surrendered.

FollowupID: 754342

Follow Up By: nowimnumberone - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 21:13

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 21:13
in vic theres no rwc or gas/electrical compliance needed to sell
rego on any van trailer is around$40 all up with 3rd party for 12 months so the dealer wasnt trying to save some dollars
he probly still should have checked all that out
FollowupID: 754391

Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 19:43

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 19:43
Doesn't have to be over 750kg in NSW to require a roadworthy certificate.....just has to be fitted with brakes.......my camper is 700kg fitted with electric brakes and must be checked each year.
FollowupID: 754499

Reply By: Shaker - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:04

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:04
You have the legal obligation to ensure the caravan is registered or has a current travel permit.
The dealer has a moral obligation to let you know if it is unregistered.
AnswerID: 478829

Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:16

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:16
Appears the dealer had no morals. It would have been nice to point out that it was unregistered. Then we could have organised the travel permits.
FollowupID: 754343

Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:10

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:10

Unfortunately it is "buyer beware".

No the van can be sold registered or unregistered.

Unless the seller even if it is a yard states that it has rego, you get what you bought, an unregistered van.

I don't think that the dealer was trying to mislead you, although not having the rego papers is a little suspicious, yes he should have pointed out the end registration date, but the salesman may have assumed that as you were to re-register it in NSW that you didn't care if it was registered or not.

You said it was insured prior to towing it back, that was more or less useless if damaged or the cause of an accident, with no rego..

A bill of sale is not a travel permit. You can tow/transport an unregistered van or vehicle interstate with a permit from the RTA and/or VicRoads, this allows you to insure it for the journey. RTA Unregistered permit info (click here)

As there appears to be no incidents, just chalk this one up for experience and a warning to others.

Thanks for highlighting this.

AnswerID: 478830

Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:20

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 14:20
Yes Tony I will put this one down to buyer beware.
In the end all is well..albeit with a bit of luck involved. No accidents on way home and van now NSW registered in my mate's name.
Hopefully, people will read this post and be careful with "rego" next time.
FollowupID: 754345

Follow Up By: Bill BD - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 15:21

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 15:21
I don't think this is a case of "buyer beware". If the van was presented and sold as registered then it must be registered. To sell an unregistered vehicle under the claim it is registered is fraud. Proving such fraud may be difficult but it is fraud never the less. If the dealer had said "I am not sure it is registered" then its buyer beware, if he said nothing it is also buyer beware, however, "I can't find the papers" implies that the papers exist and he has merely mislaid them... that is a fraudulent statement as clearly he had never seen the papers in the first place. If you can prove the van was presented as registered then talk to consumer affairs, or whatever they are called now.
FollowupID: 754348

Follow Up By: Horacehighroller - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 15:47

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 15:47
In Victoria if a vehicle is sold without the necessary Roadworthy Certificate (RWC),unregistered, with registration expired, the plates must be removed by the seller and forwarded to "Vicroads".

If the "expired registration" is paid within 3 months of expiry (and any necessary RWC is obtained and transfer fees are paid) the plates can be collected by the new owner and re-affixed to the vehicle.

I think the dealer (once he realised that you were from interstate) decided to save himself some money as you were clearly intending to register it in another juridiction. As another poster has indicated the van was probably still in the name of the previous owner, however, as far as you are concerned purchasing from a dealer guarantees you ownership (so long as you have a receipt.)

If you want to make trouble you could advise Vicroads of what has happened. They may (or may not) bother to do anything, but technically they would want the old plates.

Good luck,

FollowupID: 754352

Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 16:10

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 16:10
Gday Peter,
I suppose I was most annoyed that the dealer made no comment about the Vic rego other than they could not find the rego papers. Had he admitted it was not registered, we would have got the Vic travel permits etc.
Yes you are correct. The Vic rego was last registered in private owner's name. We handed the Vic plates in to NSW RTA when it was registered in NSW.
A lesson for us..but mate is happy with purchase.
FollowupID: 754354

Follow Up By: nowimnumberone - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 21:18

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 21:18
sorry horacehighroller
in vic once the plates are handed it rego is cancelled.end of story you cant get them back.you could years ago but not any more
if you own a vehicle and dont pay rego you have 3 months to pay it but you cant use it in that 3 months after the 3 months you must reregister it
FollowupID: 754393

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 19:26

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 19:26
Hi Ian,

You have brought up an interesting topic and one that could kind of open a can of worms.

For instance, in SA rego stickers are no longer issued so there is no visible way to check on the spot the current registration applies.
In situations like this a query can be entered on line to the Department of Transport Registration website where you can enter any registration number and the expiry date will be shown. No personal details of current registered owner are shown.

In the situation you have described, there should be some comeback with the dealer for allowing an unregistered van to leave the property.

When I bought my camper from a dealer, it was confirmed that it had current registration, but the dealer couldn't find the rego papers on the spot and said he would forward them on. The registration would expire some two months later.
A couple of weeks after the purchase, I contacted the dearlership again and they said they must have been posted. One week later again and I decided to forget them and contacted the Motor Registration department.
The lady who answered the phone was most helpful and suggested I simply go into my nearest branch and they would treat the registration renewal as a new registration. No additional cost involved and stamp duty doesn't apply to trailers, campers, vans, etc.
I have no idea if the dealer was "reprimanded" for failing to supply a transfer of registration within the two week time period following the sale. I suspect not.


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AnswerID: 478858

Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 19:43

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 19:43
Yes Bill, I can see the responsibility being on the buyer in a private sale...but through a large "reputable" Vic dealership 70 km from Melb..you would think they should be obliged to say 'the van rego has expired' before we drove out the gate. Comeback on the dealer - I doubt whether Vic Roads would be interested.
FollowupID: 754381

Reply By: ss--ss - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 19:53

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 19:53
If the van is all good & the rego is all sorted.. It time for your mate to hit the road & enjoy..

Good luck with your travels
AnswerID: 478861

Reply By: Shaker - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 23:21

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 23:21
Was the van dealer owned stock or was it being sold on consignment?
AnswerID: 478878

Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 17:31

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 17:31
Gday Shaker, van was sold as a dealer owned van but rego was still listed under previous private owner.
FollowupID: 754446

Reply By: Member - Wayne B (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 00:18

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 00:18
I purchased a QLD regoed camper trailer last weekend Privately. Rego was due. The seller went to the RTA with me and took out New NSW Rego. The RTA wanted to charge $900 Stamp Duty. I told them there was no stamp duty on a camper Trailer. After a lengthy debate they were saying that it was a box trailer and that stamp duty was applicable. I asked them if they had ever seen a box trailer for $23000. The RTA contacted the Issuer of the Blue Slip and he changed his description from trailer to Camper Trailer. No more stamp duty.

As for dealers selling unregoed trailers or cars for that matter, it is not illegal to do so. If the vehicle is over 10 years old or traveled more then 160,000km They must supply a pink slip if the vehicle has Plates Attached to it rego expired or not. Other wise Plates must be removed prior to sale. It cost dealers bugger all to transfer vehicles into their own name so this is not usually a problem for them.

You did not say how ling the rego had expired, if over 3 months then the rego is cancelled and a complete registration has to be done.

Wayne B
AnswerID: 478884

Reply By: ferris - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 22:31

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 22:31
In Victoria there is no requirement for a roadworthy inspection on trailers when they are transferred and it does not have to be registered when sold.

While there is no requirement for a roadworthy inspection, the driver towing the van is legally obligated to ensure it is roadworthy before he tows it on the road. The van can be legally towed to a VicRoads office while unregistered for the purposes of registration. Simple really.

There is one trap for the unwary. For a van that has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 750 kg or more it must have brakes that are compatible with the tow vehicle. ie if the van has electric brakes the tow vehicle must have a compatible brake controller. If the van has a GVM of more than 1999 kg, it must have effective break away brakes (brakes that lock on if the van becomes detached from the tow vehicle).

The trap is that some people buy their van and then tow it to an auto elec to have the brake controller fitted to the car, so when they leave the dealer's yard they are driving without effective brakes. That's when things become ugly with the insurance company.

Just as a side note if the GVM is not stipulated on the compliance plate, the GVM is calculated from the sum of the load capacity of all tyres.

Gas & electricity compliance are separate issues to registration.
AnswerID: 478954

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 00:16

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 00:16
Seems we stll have a long way to go with national standarisation.

In QLD you require a roadworthy to transfer anything over 750Kg, and you require both gass and electrical certificates to transfer rego.

FollowupID: 754525

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 10:02

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 10:02
A Certificate of Roadworthiness is required in Victoria for all commercially registered trailers.
FollowupID: 754543

Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 12:20

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 12:20
Could you be kind enough to supply more info on your last statement Re: commercially registered trailers.
A URL to the appropriate regulation(s) would suffice.
Cheers, OJ
FollowupID: 754550

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 14:06

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 14:06
My apologies, it appears as if the rules have changed .... again!
It used to be commercially registered trailers that required a RWC, but now it is trailers over 4.5t GVM.

FollowupID: 754564

Reply By: bgreeni - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 16:47

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 16:47
A few years back I needed to relocate my boat on trailer from NSW to WA. Boat had been in storage while I was away overseas and rego had expired.

WA were happy to issue permit from border to my home in Perth.

SA said if I had WA permit it was OK with them.

NSW wanted me to re- register it, and that required me to have a NSW address. Also needed a pink slip and needed to take it to their office which was closed Christmas to new year when I wanted to move the boat.

Finally took chance on NSW and towed it across to SA on New Year eve, leaving Sydney early. Figured the police would all be of duty in preparation for the evening. I had no problems and in WA took it to a testing station where they checked it and registered it in WA.
AnswerID: 479096

Follow Up By: Horacehighroller - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 17:38

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 17:38
I was of the understanding that a permit issued in one state was valid elsewhere.
I am sure I read something to that effect on the last VICTORIAN permit I got.
May not apply to permits from other states though.

FollowupID: 754584

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 11:13

Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 11:13
I think you will find that a "permit" is a different thing to regestration.

The permit is to relocate a vehicle issued by a particular state and only realy applies in that state.

If another state is happy to honour an interstate permit ...great... but I don't believe they are under any obligation to do so.

FollowupID: 754644

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