How the Act and Register protect consumers

The Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 is the main law that applies to registered motor vehicle traders. Traders are listed on the Motor Vehicle Traders Register.

Protection under the Motor Vehicle Sales Act

The Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 (MVSA) protects you by requiring motor vehicle traders to register under the law. This includes vehicle auctioneers — even if their business is online.

The MVSA also requires registered motor vehicle traders to:

  • provide buyers with detailed information about any used motor vehicles they're selling
  • keep records of their sales contracts
  • disclose any security interest over (money owing on) a vehicle they're selling, and
  • produce their Certificate of Registration if asked (see below).

For more information about the Motor Vehicle Sales Act see:

Offences under the Act

If motor vehicle traders don't follow the rules laid out in the Motor Vehicle Sales Act, they may be committing an offence.


Certificate of Registration

Motor vehicle traders must display a copy of their Certificate of Registration somewhere at their premises - or be able to show it to you if you ask to see it. The certificate shows their name and trader number, and the expiry date of their registration. Check the expiry date to make sure the trader has a current registration, as they must renew this every year.

You can also check the trader's registration status online, in the Motor Vehicle Trader's Register (see below).

Protection provided by the Motor Vehicle Traders Register

The Motor Vehicle Traders Register (MVTR) makes it easy to find out who's a registered trader, and who has been banned from trading.

Search the Motor Vehicle Traders Register(external link)

Banned persons list

Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal

The Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal (MVDT) is part of the Ministry of Justice. The Tribunal can hear claims about motor vehicle sales that may have breached the:

  • Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
  • Fair Trading Act 1986, or
  • certain sections of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.

Getting help or making a complaint