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Commission warns registered dealer

A motor-vehicle trader has been warned by the Commerce Commission for allegedly misrepresenting the history of a vehicle and misleading buyers about their rights. 
Posted on 30 January, 2019
Commission warns registered dealer

Motor-vehicle trader Taieri Motor Court (TMC) has been issued with a warning by the Commerce Commission for likely breaching the Fair Trading Act (FTA) during the sale of two cars. 

A complaint made to the commission alleges that TMC advertised on its Facebook page a 2001 Subaru Impreza with an odometer reading of 160,000km. The odometer actually had a reading of 166,000km. 

When responding to the complaint, TMC advised that the Subaru was sold privately and without TMC displaying or providing to the purchaser a consumer information notice (CIN).

“We have warned TMC that, in our view, its odometer representation and its failure to display a CIN likely breached the FTA,” says commissioner Anna Rawlings pictured above. “Traders must display a CIN in the vehicle and in the online advertisement, and must not misrepresent the history of a vehicle, including information such as distance travelled.”

The commission also uncovered a Mercedes-Benz AMG on TMC’s Facebook page being advertised as a private sale. The commission established that at the time of the advert, the vehicle was registered to TMC.

“Different rights and obligations apply when consumers buy from a person in-trade as opposed to a private seller, so telling consumers they are buying privately has the potential to mislead them about their rights if something goes wrong,” adds Rawlings.

The commission alleges both instances breached the FTA by:
- Making misleading representations about the distance a vehicle offered for sale had travelled, and about selling vehicles on a private basis.
- Failing to comply with the Consumer Information Standards (Used Motor Vehicles) Regulations 2008.

The commission has written to TMC over its response to an enquiry the Subaru was offered for sale on an “as-is, where-is basis” because it was “not yet ready for sale”. It believes this is a possible breach of the FTA and TMC was provided with advice to assist its future compliance.

“Using a term like ‘as-is, where-is’ can suggest the Consumer Guarantees Act [CGA] doesn’t apply to the vehicle and the consumer has no recourse against the seller if those guarantees are breached,” says Rawlings. “However, this is not the case. Traders are prohibited from contracting out of the CGA when they sell to individuals. Recent court decisions have confirmed this.”