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Trade Me Car Sellers Warning

(PR.co.nz) The Commerce Commission is reminding people who frequently sell motor vehicles on Trade Me or similar sites to be aware of their legal obligations when advertising and selling motor vehicles.

“Trade Me is a popular way for both private sellers and motor vehicle traders to advertise and sell cars. A person selling their own car to another consumer is not considered to be a ‘motor vehicle trader’ but anyone who sells more than six cars in a 12 month period is considered by law to be a motor vehicle trader,” said Kate Morrison, General Manager, Enforcement, Commerce Commission. “As there are different legal obligations for motor vehicle traders than for private sellers, it is important that consumers know if they are dealing with a motor vehicle trader.”

“Motor vehicle traders must ensure that consumers have access to Consumer Information Notices (CINs) for all used motor vehicles offered or displayed for sale. The CIN provides sellers with a standard format by which buyers can obtain information about used vehicles in order to make better informed purchasing decisions,” said Ms Morrison.

“Trade Me makes it clear on their terms and conditions that motor vehicle traders selling cars online must attach a CIN to their listing (either by a photo of the CIN or a link to a webpage displaying the CIN) and provide the original CIN to the successful buyer,” said Ms Morrison.

“Purchasing a car is a significant investment and buyers are entitled to have correct information about vehicles so that they can make comparisons and informed choices. It is particularly important with online sales as the buyer might not always have the opportunity to inspect the vehicle before deciding to make a purchase,” said Ms Morrison. “Motor vehicle traders have the same legal obligations whether they are selling cars off the lot or online. No matter what the medium, motor vehicle traders who give false or misleading information risk breaching the Fair Trading Act and serious consequences.”

The Commission has recently concluded an investigation into a Trade Me seller, Justin Van Malland (‘leahv46’) who had advertised a Honda Civic for sale saying “Selling this car on behalf of my sister as she brought (sic) a new car.” The Commission’s investigation found that this and other statements made about the car’s reliability and service history were not true. The investigation also found that the seller had sold more than eight cars on Trade Me over a 12 month period, which qualified the seller as a motor vehicle trader. Consumer Information Notices (CINs) had not been provided on at least two of those sales.

“In this case we issued a warning,” said Ms Morrison. “But all motor vehicle traders should be put on notice that the Commission expects them to take their legal obligations seriously. The Commission will shortly be writing to all registered motor vehicle traders to remind them about Consumer Information Standards regulations.”

“While the Fair Trading Act applies to motor vehicle traders, consumers who encounter problems when buying a car through a private individual may still seek redress through the Disputes Tribunal. If in doubt, consumers who encounter problems when buying a car should seek independent advice about their options,” said Ms Morrison.

Media Release 20 August 2010 from The Commerce Commission.

 



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