Getting help or making a complaint
Different agencies are responsible for different parts of the Motor Vehicle Sales Act. This page has information on who to contact if you have a problem with a motor vehicle trader, or with a vehicle that you've bought.
You're not sure whether a motor vehicle trader is registered
If you're not sure whether a motor vehicle trader that you've been dealing with is registered, the first thing to do is search for them on the Motor Vehicle Traders Register, as this lists all registered traders.
If you can't find them in the Register, let us know. You can use our complaint form for this.
You think a banned trader is still trading or working in the industry
People or companies can be banned from trading in motor vehicles for a period of time. Banned persons are not allowed to trade motor vehicles. They're also not allowed to work in other ways that involve motor vehicle trading, such as working as a salesperson in a car market.
You can check to see who is banned on our banned persons list.
If you have evidence that a banned trader is selling vehicles, let us know. You can use our complaint form for this.
You think an odometer has been tampered with
An odometer is the counter on a dashboard that shows the distance a vehicle has travelled. The reading on an odometer should never be altered to make it seem like the vehicle has travelled less or more distance than it actually has.
If you think the odometer in a vehicle you've bought has been tampered with, let us know. You can use our complaint form for this.
You have a problem with a vehicle you've bought or how it was sold
If there’s a problem with your vehicle after purchase and it’s not your fault, you may be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, which relates to the quality of goods and services. This Act offers protection to consumers who believe reasonable expectations have not been met. You can find out more at Consumer Protection.
You can report a motor vehicle trader to the Commerce Commission if:
- you think you've been misled about the vehicle (for example, price, quality, kilometres travelled, country of origin)
- the vehicle's Consumer Information Notice (CIN) had incorrect information or wasn't there.
Commerce Commission doesn't act on behalf of individuals, and can't investigate every complaint. But their investigations do help make sure businesses are complying with the law. Your information helps them assess which consumer issues are causing greatest harm.
You can't resolve a problem with a motor vehicle trader
If you're not able to resolve a problem with a motor vehicle trader, you may be able to take a claim to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal (MVDT). The MVDT is part of the Ministry of Justice. They can hear claims about vehicle sales that may have breached the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, the Fair Trading Act 1986, or certain sections of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.
You have sold a vehicle through a trader but have not received the money for it
When you sell a vehicle on consignment (that is, when a trader sells a vehicle for you), the trader must pay you all money received for the sale, less any fee you have agreed to pay. The trader can't use this money to pay for anything else.
If a trader doesn't pay you this money after the vehicle has sold, let us know. You can use our complaint form for this.
A trader has been ordered to do something but hasn't done it
Traders must comply with all orders made by the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal (MVDT). If they don't comply with orders, they could be banned from motor vehicle trading for 5 years.
If the MVDT has ordered a trader to do something, like pay you money or repair your vehicle, but the trader has not done this by the due date, let us know.
You can use our complaint form for this.
The Ministry of Justice website outlines the process to follow when a motor vehicle trader hasn't complied.
If you are the party who has been ordered to pay a sum of money, you should contact the other party/parties to discuss arrangements to comply with the order.
If you are due payment and the order of the Tribunal has not been complied with you can apply for an order for it to be enforced. You must wait until the appeal period of ten (10) working days has expired.
To apply for an enforcement order the following procedure should be followed:
- Contact the Civil Section of District Court nearest to where the motor vehicle was sold, to register the decision
- Contact the Collections Unit
You think there might be money owing on a vehicle
If you're worried that there might be money owing on a used vehicle (called a 'security interest'), you can check this in the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR). The PPSR is a Government register of security interests in personal property, including motor vehicles.
You can find out more about security interests on this page:
You have a question about vehicle ownership
If you have questions about vehicle ownership (registration and licensing of personal vehicles), contact the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
You need more help or advice
You can get support or advice at any point from:
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) — a free, independent service, run by volunteers. CAB can advise you on your consumer rights and obligations in person, by phone, or online.
- Community Law Centre — offers free one-on-one legal advice to people with limited finances. The organisation has 24 community law centres throughout the country. You can find legal information and other resources on its website.