A trader is someone who sells a motor vehicle. The exact definition is in the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003.
If you bought a vehicle from a private seller and want to dispute the sale – you’ll need to go through the Disputes Tribunal.
Disputes Tribunal (external link)
You can make a claim with the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal if you think a motor vehicle dealer has breached 1 of these Acts:
The tribunal can deal with disputes of amounts up to $100,000. It can be more if both parties agree in writing. You can also claim for the remedies (such as repairs) available under the Act that relate to your claim.
You can make a claim if you think a trader has broken 1 of the guarantees under the Act. This could be if the vehicle:
If the vehicle fails to comply with the guarantees in Part 1 of the Consumer Guarantees Act you can get an order upholding your rejection of the vehicle. This applies if:
If this happens the trader is ordered by the tribunal to give you a full refund.
If you want to reject the vehicle you must first tell the trader in writing of your decision and reasons for rejecting the vehicle.
You can’t reject the vehicle if:
Instead of rejecting the vehicle and asking for a refund, you can get damages (money) equal to the amount the vehicle has been devalued by the failures. The tribunal can award reasonable repair costs to you. Under this remedy, you must ask the trader to repair the vehicle and give them a reasonable time to do the repairs before having the failure repaired elsewhere.
The tribunal can also order the trader to pay damages (money) for any loss or damage to you resulting because the vehicle didn’t comply with a guarantee in the Consumer Guarantees Act.
The loss has to result from the failure. Examples of this are towing costs, car rental costs, or the costs of getting an expert to report on the cause of the vehicle failure.
The tribunal can award damages under the Sale of Goods Act when it finds that a trader sold a vehicle that was not of saleable (fit to be sold) quality or reasonably fit for purpose.
You can make a claim when you think the vehicle was not in a fit state to be sold, or that the sale otherwise breached the Sale of Goods Act.
You can’t claim under this Act if:
You can also make a claim when you think a trader has broken the Fair Trading Act.
The most common case is when the trader misled you about:
If the tribunal finds you have suffered loss or damage under the Act it could:
If you owe money on the vehicle we call this a collateral credit agreement.
When the tribunal orders that a purchaser has a right to reject the vehicle under the Consumer Guarantees Act or declares the contract for the sale of the vehicle void under the Fair Trading Act, it could order that your rights and obligations under a collateral credit agreement be transferred to the trader.
It can do this if you bought the vehicle with finance and the finance company paid the money to the trader. This means the trader could have to take over your obligations under the finance agreement and you could also get a refund for any payments you've made.
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