What Happens if you Get a Dodgy Roadworthy Certificate in QLD?

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A dodgy Roadworthy Certificate (RWC), or a Safety Certificate, is a forged document that certifies a vehicle for sale as roadworthy even though it is not. Mechanics at some garages will make illegal deals with sellers to create a Safety Certificate for a vehicle that’s not roadworthy. So, what happens if you get a car with a dodgy roadworthy?

Buying a car with a dodgy roadworthy means it may have unknown issues that are dangerous or expensive to repair. If you think you got a dodgy Safety Certificate or Roadworthy Certificate, you can lodge a complaint with the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads online, by post, or by phone. 

It’s vital to get your car professionally inspected by a mechanic to issue a legitimate Safety Certificate for your own safety as well as the safety of the other people on the road. Read on to find out what you can do if you suspect a car you purchased had a dodgy Safety Certificate.

What is a Dodgy Roadworthy Certificate?

A Roadworthy Certificate, now called a Safety Certificate, is considered dodgy if it was not created by an Approved Inspection Station (AIS) or overlooks clear safety issues. Dodgy roadworthy certificates are often sought out by people wanting to sell a car knowing it won’t pass a roadworthiness test.

Some people go out of their way to find or make a dodgy Safety Certificate so they do not have to deal with repairs and expenses to make their car roadworthy or knowing modifications they’ve done to their car will prevent it from passing a roadworthy test.

Although a safety inspection only takes 40 to 50 minutes, the checklist is very thorough—from cracks on the windscreen to rust on the car’s body. If the vehicle being sold fails the safety inspection, the owner has 14 days to rectify anything marked as failed and have the car inspected again.

A Safety Certificate can either be electronic, printed, or handwritten. You can find samples of handwritten Safety Certificates online, and electronic certificates for assigned vehicles and unassigned vehicles on the same website. You can view them to familiarise yourself with the certificate to help you identify fraudulent certificates more easily.

What Can I Do If I Suspect the Roadworthy Certificate for the Car I Bought is Dodgy?

If you suspect that your Safety Certificate or Roadworthy Certificate is dodgy, you can lodge a complaint against the mechanic who issued it. You can file a complaint to the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) online, by mail, or by phone.

The Customer Complaint form (F4603) is available online. You can fill the form in and mail it to the TMR, or use it as a guide when phoning them on 13 23 80.

How to Check a Roadworthy Certificate Online 

As a buyer, you can get an electronic, printed, or handwritten copy of your Safety Certificate or Roadworthy Certificate. The AIS that issues the electronic certificate automatically submits your records to the TMR. If your certificate is not sent via email, you can check your records at the TMR website

What Happens if I Sell a Car with a Dodgy Roadworthy Certificate?

If you are caught attempting to sell a car with a fake roadworthy certificate, you could be fined an upper maximum of $220,000 if you’re charged with failure to comply with safety standards under the Fair Trading Act 1989.

A car with a dodgy safety certificate isn’t fit to be on the road. Cars that were sold with a dodgy roadworthy certificate likely have an issue that would make them unsafe on the road, otherwise the previous owner would have gotten a legitimate safety certificate. 

What Happens if I Buy a Car with a Dodgy Roadworthy Certificate?

If you buy a vehicle with a dodgy Safety Certificate or Roadworthy Certificate, there will not be any fines for you, but you’re putting yourself at risk. A car with a dodgy Roadworthy Certificate may need hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of repairs that you won’t know about with a dodgy Roadworthy Certificate.

A legitimate car Safety Certificate inspection includes a mechanic doing a thorough inspection of your vehicle while looking for issues, which obviously doesn’t occur when a seller’s vehicle has a dodgy safety certificate.

You’ll likely face costly repairs if you buy a car with a dodgy roadworthy certificate if you’re lucky. Worst case scenario because the car you bought had an underlying issue that caused an accident on the road. It’s especially dangerous if you are relying on advanced car safety features that no mechanic has checked the condition of. 

Where Can I Get a Legitimate Vehicle Roadworthy Safety Certificate?

You can get a legitimate Safety Certificate or Roadworthy Certificate from an AIS. You can check the Queensland Government TMR website to find an AIS to be sure to get a legitimate vehicle roadworthy Safety Certificate. 

The website allows you to search by suburb or postcode and within a certain radius and inspection type (COI Light Motor Vehicle, COI Motorcycle, Heavy Motor Vehicle, Heavy Trailer, Light Motor Vehicle, Light Trailer, Motorcycle). You can even limit your search to mobile inspection services or online inspection certificates.

Related Questions

How Do I Report a Dodgy Roadworthy Certificate?

According to the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), you can report dodgy Safety Certificates by calling 13 23 80, writing to Compliments and Complaints, or completing an online form. Reports that require urgent action should be made by phone. 

Who is Responsible for a Roadworthy Certificate?

The owner of a vehicle being sold is responsible for getting a Safety Certificate or Roadworthy Certificate. Owners who transfer a vehicle registration without obtaining the certificate will be fined $700 or more.

Can I Get Fined if the Car I Bought Isn’t Roadworthy?

No, there are no fines to the buyer for buying a car that is not roadworthy or doesn’t have a legitimate Safety Certificate. It is a considerable risk to do so, however, as getting an unroadworthy vehicle can lead to accidents and injury and expensive, unexpected repairs – which nobody wants!


This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. Shift Automotive does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information, and specifics will vary according to your vehicle’s manufacturer and model. This article is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified automotive service technician.