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Consumer law for motor vehicle traders

Some industries have extra requirements that mean those working in them might need to register with certain regulatory authorities and carry out other specific compliance duties, and motor vehicle trading is one of them. 

Motor Vehicle Sales Act (MVSA)

In addition to working within consumer laws that apply to all retailers – such as the Consumer Guarantees Act (1993) and the Fair Trading Act (1986) – motor vehicle traders need to adhere to the Motor Vehicle Sales Act (2003).

The MVSA covers the following:

  • Registering as a motor vehicle trader
  • Disclosure obligations
  • Offences and enforcement
  • The Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal

If you meet the following definition of a motor vehicle trader, you must register as one on the Motor vehicle traders register (external link)

The definition of a motor vehicle trader

You must register as a motor vehicle trader with The Motor Vehicles Traders Register if you’re:

  • a motor vehicle importer
  • a motor vehicle wholesaler
  • a car auctioneer
  • a car consultant
  • you sell more than six vehicles or import more than three vehicles in a 12-month period (unless you can prove that those vehicles were not sold or imported to be sold for personal gain).

Compliance for auctioneers

This is what you need to do to if you’re an auctioneer selling motor vehicles:

  • Register as a motor vehicle trader on the Motor vehicle traders register (external link)
  • Comply with the Auctioneers Act (1928) (but you don’t have to be licensed under the Act if you’re properly registered as a motor vehicle trader and your business only involves conducting sales of motor vehicle by auction).
  • Comply with the requirement to display a Consumer Information Notice with used motor vehicles for sale at auction.
  • Disclose whether there is a security interest on any motor vehicle you offer for sale.
  • Comply with the Fair Trading Act.
  • Comply with the Consumer Guarantees Act (when applicable).

Motor vehicle traders (external link)  — Consumer Protection

Consumer law for retailers has information on the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act with retailers


Compliance for car market operators

This is what you must do if you operate a car market, car fair or display cars for sale (including online):

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure motor vehicle traders display a Consumer Information Notice with vehicles they offer for sale at your car market.
  • Comply with the Fair Trading Act in relation to information you provide to sellers and buyers.
  • Comply with the Consumer Guarantees Act if you’re selling on behalf of others.

This is a guide only. Only the courts can make an authoritative ruling on breaches of the Fair Trading Act. The guide is not intended to be definitive, and should not be used instead of legal advice.

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