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Exclusive! Gov’t to tighten laws on sale of used cars

on November 13 2013 | in Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

Used car buyers in New Zealand will get a better deal under Government changes to consumer laws.

Traders in used vehicles will have to provide buyers with more information on a vehicle’s history under amendments to the Consumer Information Notice.

Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Foss

Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Foss

Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Foss’ move to better protect car buyers comes amid mounting evidence of damaged used imports slipping undetected into the national car park.

He said officials had provided him with a report looking into the Consumer Information Notice.

“It is clear that information provided on the current CIN (2010 version) could be more helpful,” said Foss.

“I have decided to amend the CIN to provide more meaningful information for consumers and help them make a more informed decision when purchasing a vehicle.

“Officials have been consulting with industry and consumer groups, and will continue to do so throughout this process.”

Foss wouldn’t say what changes would be made. Recent NZ Transport Agency evidence to government of used cars that have been written off by insurers in Australia before landing in New Zealand is believed to have hastened the changes.

The current CIN requires vehicle traders to list things like make, model, year of manufacture, mileage, when it was first registered, if it was imported damaged … and so on.

Motor Industry Association president and Mazda NZ managing director Andrew Clearwater applauded changes to the CIN.

“MIA members welcome the decision to include more details on the CIN, so that potential buyers are fully aware of the history of the vehicle, including any damage to vehicles that has occurred overseas before being imported into New Zealand,” he said.

“At a time when the Government is progressively implementing its ‘Safer Journeys’  strategy to improve road safety, it is frustrating to see used import vehicles crossing our border in an unsafe condition and being sold to unsuspecting customers.

“The MIA will continue to work with authorities to ensure all relevant data relating to a vehicle’s history is available to consumers before purchase.”

The most recent example of an insurance write-off from Australia was for sale on website TradeMe for $49,995.

The four-wheel-drive Kia Sorrento was registered new in Australia in April but later written off by insurers. The NZTA said it had suffered “smoke and water” damage.

The NZTA made TradeMe aware of the vehicle’s history and the website asked the seller to either amend or pull the listing.

Said TradeMe Trust and Safety division spokesman Jon Duffy: “The core issue we must consider is if the vehicle has been subject to a statutory write-off in another jurisdiction, that is information a consumer would expect to know about.

“We are quite happy to list but the need to fully disclose is there.”

For background information see our latest stories about dodgy imports from Australia.

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