The NZ Transport Agency is planning to work with TradeMe in an effort to identify vehicles for sale on the website that have been damaged and written off by insurers in Australia, say industry insiders.
NZTA senior engineer Bill Hyslop, who has logged the arrival of hundreds of insurance write-offs from Australia since 2011, said he had no comment to make “at this stage” on the reported talks with TradeMe.
Hyslop earlier told motoring industry newsletter autofile that around 500 write-offs have landed here. Some are suspected of being cases of insurance fraud.
“About 60 per cent have been involved in collisions and around 40 per cent are water damaged,” said Hyslop.
“I would say 95 per cent come from New South Wales with varying degrees of being written off, with most of the rest probably from Queensland,” said Hyslop.
“Some have hardly any damage and could be cases of insurance fraud in NSW, so our information is going back to the authorities in Sydney to check for criminal activity.”
Hyslop said the NZTA had profiled the NZ importers: about 40 per cent of the write-offs are being brought in by individuals and 60 per cent by companies.
“In most cases we think they are deliberately buying write-offs because there’s a big difference between what they were bought for over there (Australia) and what they can get for them in New Zealand,” said Hyslop.
A typical example of the money-go-round is a 2008 Holden Captiva SUV. It was listed by the NSW Road Transport Authority in 2011 as a “statutory” write-off, meaning it couldn’t be registered again for on-road use in Australia. Its only value therefore was in parts.
But it was repaired, or “rebirthed”, and bought at auction in Australia by an Auckland used car dealer for $6000.
The Auckland dealer sold the Captiva to a Hastings dealer for $28,000. The Hastings dealer sold it to a Hastings woman for $33,500.
Hyslop and his team wrote to the woman to say the Captiva had been written off in Australia.
An inspection showed the Captiva was roadworthy but the Motor Vehicle Dealers Dispute Tribunal criticised the two dealers and awarded the woman $4500 in compensation.
A four-wheel-drive Kia Sorrento currently listed for sale on TradeMe for $49,995 was registered new in Australia in April but later written off by insurers.
The NZTA file says it suffered “smoke damage.” The Motorweb vehicle condition site says it was “water damaged.” Had it being in a bushfire? It is pictured on TradeMe on a South Auckland street.
Transport authorities say “rebirthing” is often done by criminal gangs, based mostly in Sydney.
A vehicle worth $20,000 before a crash can be bought at auction for as little as $3000 and repaired with parts from a stolen car.
Hyslop says the cost to the NZTA of dealing with the Australian write-offs has been huge.
It is working with Australian authorities and now has in place a process to identify used imports that have been listed as statutory write-offs across the Tasman.
• PLEASE VIEW THE ATTACHED LIST – It is a list of vehicles in NZ that are statutory write-offs in Australia. It shows the make and model, number plate or not, and reason for the write-off. It doesn’t show the chassis number, for reasons of space. The official NZTA list has the chassis number of each vehicle. We have also left off the list of written-off motorbikes, a mix of 18 Harley Davidsons, Triumphs, and BMWs.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW LIST A list of vehicles in NZ are listed as statutory write-offs in Australia