Buying a used car from a New Zealand vehicle dealer is the best option for many reasons, however when it comes to the car buyers’ rights, you can’t go wrong when you deal with a dealership as you have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act along with he Fair Trading Act.
The basis for both these laws is to ensure that you (as the car buyer) are not misled about the nature of the vehicle you purchase and that the vehicle is of an acceptable quality for the age of the vehicle and the amount you have paid for the vehicle.
So who is considered to be a motor vehicle trader and must be registered?
If a person holds themselves out as being in the business of motor vehicle trading, or sells more than 6 vehicles, or imports more than 3 vehicles within a 12 month period, is considered under New Zealand law to be a motor vehicle trader and must be registered. This also includes online car sales services.
A registered motor vehicle trader will guarantee consumers “good title” to a car . This means they can legally sell the car and you will not be liable for any debts hanging over it, unless those debts were specifically pointed out to you in writing. This protection does not apply if you buy privately.
Every vehicle sold by a trader must have a warrant of fitness less than one month old and all information disclosed in the Supplier Information Notice (SIN). Detailed information regarding all the paperwork and documentation you should expect to see, plus the information you can obtain from a dealership, is listed in the Tips to Buying Guide.
So what happens when it goes wrong?
Your first point of call is to discuss the problem/concern with the dealership you purchased the vehicle from. If they wont help or you are still not satisfied, you can either take your case to the specialist Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal (MVDT) or to your local court Disputes Tribunal.
The Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal can hear claims up to $50,000 (or more if both parties agree).
If you go through the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal you will pay a fee to have your claim submitted. The hearings are in private and you must represent yourself (however you can consult with your lawyer before the hearing).
The Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal will also ask the dealer to discuss the problem with you and if the problem isn’t resolved the Tribunal will set a date for your hearing. The Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal can order any of the remedies available under the Consumer Guarantees Act, Fair Trading Act, or the Sale of Goods Act.
If you go through the court Disputes Tribunal you can only make a claim up to the value of $7,500.00 (or $12,000 if both parties agree).
As you can appreciate, there is a lot to consider when you are purchasing a used vehicle, which is why the professional and dedicated team at Mike Turfus MotorTraders are happy to assist in any way possible to ensure your car purchasing experience is as stress-free as possible!