Buying a new or used vehicle

Contracts and deposits

There is no cooling-off period for vehicle purchases in the Northern Territory (NT), meaning you can’t change your mind once you have signed a contract to buy.

Do not sign anything until you are sure you want to buy the vehicle. If you are just looking or thinking about buying there is no paperwork involved. 

Contract forms

Read all documents carefully and do not sign anything unless you are certain that you will be buying that car.

Form 10

Form 10 is a contract for the sale of a second-hand vehicle and must be used when buying from a licensed motor vehicle dealer. This is a legally binding contract.

Form 11

Form 11 is a contract for buying a vehicle from a licensed motor vehicle dealer that is not fit for registration. It must be signed in front of the police or an officer from Consumer Affairs.

Form 12

Form 12 is a contract for excluding statutory warranty. By signing this contract you are agreeing to waive your right to warranty. It must be signed in front of the police or an officer from Consumer Affairs.

Think about this one carefully before you sign. It may mean the price of the vehicle is cheaper, but you will have to pay for any faults the vehicle may have.


A motor vehicle dealer will usually take a holding deposit when you sign a contract. Make sure that you only pay the minimum amount and you get a receipt for this money.

If you have decided to buy a car but you need to have finance approved first, then have this written in the contract as 'subject to approval of finance to the purchaser's satisfaction'.

If this is written in the contract and you can't get a loan approved, you may be able to cancel the contract and have the deposit returned to you.

Remember that signing a contract is legal and binding. If you change your mind and want to cancel the contract, you could lose your deposit.

A car dealer cannot retain more than 10% of the total selling price of the vehicle.

For more advice, contact NT Consumer Affairs.

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Last updated: 06 July 2015

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