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Buying a car

For free legal help:

Legal Aid Queensland
Phone 1300 65 11 88 (for the cost of a local call from a landline in Australia)

Community Legal Centres Queensland
Phone 07 3392 0092

Or look under “Community Legal Centres” in your local phone book.

For help from a financial counsellor:

Lifeline Financial First Aid
National Debt Helpline
Phone 1800 007 007

If you need an interpreter to help you contact a service phone TIS 131 450

Activity sheets for this story:

Video transcript

Title: Buying a car

Maryam: Hey Tom, I’m getting a car this weekend! I crashed my old car a few weeks ago.
Tom: Oh no! Are you OK?
Maryam: Yes, I’m fine. But the car isn’t.
Tom: Hope you find something!
Maryam: I really like that car!
Dealer: Well this car’s a bargain. Best car I’ve had in the yard for months. It’s worth $10,000.
Maryam: But it costs too much!
Dealer: Hey, I like your face - you can have it for eight and a half.
Maryam: I don’t have that much money.
Dealer: No problem. Come into the office and let’s see what we can do.
Maryam: Umm, I think I need some more time...
Dealer: Trust me, that car will be gone in an’re getting it for a great price.
Maryam: I really like that car. Nothing can go wrong. I’ll sign it.
Dealer: Just sign here on the dotted line – it’s easy.
Friend: Very nice...How much was it?
Maryam: Only $8,500.
Friend: Yes, but look here. The interest is 18%.
Maryam: What does that mean?
Friend: You’ll have to pay $4,400 in interest!
Maryam: Really?
Friend: That means you will pay $12,900, NOT $8,500. That’s $215 every month for 5 years!
Maryam: I have to pay rent and food! Ohhh, I don’t know if I can pay it! Hmmm…
Friend: So what will you do?
Maryam: Oh it’ll be OK. At least I have a good car. Get in, I’ll take you for a drive!
Maryam: The gears don’t work.
Dealer: Sorry. The warranty has expired so I don’t have to fix it.
Maryam: I’m not going to keep paying for a broken car. I got this letter from the bank.
Friend: What does it say?
Maryam: Well, I missed two payments on the car, and now I have to pay the whole amount I owe within 28 days.
Friend: They’re thieves!
Maryam: I can’t pay it, I don’t have enough money!
Friend: Ooh that car is trouble.
Maryam: I’ll read them later.
Company rep: You have to pay the loan.
Maryam: But the car is broken. I can’t drive it!
Company rep: You have a loan contract with us - you have to keep paying.
Maryam: Hey, that’s my car, what are you doing?
Truck Driver: We have to take the car - you haven’t paid the loan.
Repossession notice: Pay total amount of $11,300 plus fees within 21 days or car will be sold at auction.
Maryam: They take my car and I still have to pay the loan! This is crazy!! Maybe I should call a lawyer to find out what I can do.
Lawyer: Did you read the contract?
Maryam: Umm, no.
Lawyer: Well, because you signed the contract it’s not easy to get out of it.
Maryam: I see that now! I haven’t got a car, I haven’t got any money and they still want me to pay. What can I do?
Lawyer: You should see a financial counsellor. They can talk to you about your options.
Maryam: These are all the papers.
Financial Counsellor: Thanks. Now I can help you work out what to do next...

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Last updated 18 June 2020

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