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It’s A Sin

Motor Trade Association (MTA)

Friday 5 March 2004
It’s A Sin

The government is restricting consumer access to information when it comes to buying a used vehicle.

In a document distributed by the Commerce Commission yesterday, car dealers were told that the version of the Supplier Information Notices (SINs) many of them use, provides too much information.

SINs replace window cards under the new Motor Vehicle Sales Act, which came into effect in December 2003, ostensibly to provide more protection for consumers.

The Commerce Commission’s document states that “the primary purpose of the SIN is to provide a mechanism by which consumers can obtain information about used motor vehicles in order to make informed purchasing decisions and to offer a level of protection in terms of the accuracy of the information being provided.”

Some of the main areas of concern for the Commission regarding SINs currently being used by many dealers relate to the format of information provided on the SINs, including the addition of ‘features’ or ‘comments’ panels and what must be in each panel of information.

The MTA believes that in order for consumers to be able to make informed decisions about the vehicles they are buying, they should be provided with more information. According to the Commerce Commission, a SIN does not comply if it contains information on whether vehicles have been modified, how many owners a vehicle may have had and any additional features which the vehicle has.

“This is information that people need to know when buying a vehicle, it is unbelievable that the Commerce Commission limits the amount of information available to consumers. For example, a vehicle may have lowered suspension, ABS, ten previous owners and be an ex-rental and buyers would never know,” said MTA CEO Stephen Matthews. “MTA will challenge the government on this issue so that commonsense may prevail.”


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