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64% of Vehicle Dealers Not Complying With Regs

It’s a SIN – 64% of vehicle dealers inspected not complying with new regulations

The Commerce Commission is reminding motor vehicle traders of their obligations under the Consumer Information Standards Regulations for used motor vehicles following recent inspections in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch that revealed 64 percent of dealers were non-compliant.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that in the Commission’s view, dealers have now had sufficient time to get their procedures in order since the regulations took full effect in December 2003.

The regulations were introduced to provide a standardised mechanism for consumers to obtain information about used motor vehicles, requiring the display of a Supplier Information Notice or SIN on used motor vehicles offered for sale. The Commission is responsible for enforcing the regulations under the Fair Trading Act.

Ms Battell said that to date, the Commission had conducted inspections of 89 premises in the greater Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch areas. The inspections focused on registered motor vehicle traders with permanent sales yards.

“Although the majority of registered traders were using the SIN cards, 64 percent of traders displayed SINs that were incorrectly filled out or did not comply with the regulations in terms of format. As a result, the Commission has issued 57 warnings or compliance advice letters,” Ms Battell said.

Some of the recurrent issues to emerge from the inspections included the failure by dealers to present the card in the format required in the regulations or to have the cards prominently displayed. One motorcycle dealer did not have any SIN cards displayed on vehicles for sale. Dealers should be aware that any motorcycle over 60cc falls under the regulations.

In addition, a large number of dealers failed to provide accurate or adequate information on the SINs as required under the regulations, including current price information, warrant of fitness expiry dates, trader registration details, VIN/chassis numbers and odometer information.

Ms Battell said the Commission was particularly concerned that dealers were seeing SIN cards as a marketing tool and were therefore modifying them to suit their own needs.

“SIN cards were designed to provide a standard set of information to consumers. It is important their format is consistent and that all information is filled out so that consumers can easily make comparisons and therefore make better informed purchasing decisions.”

Going forward, the Commission will extend its inspections to areas outside the three main centres and will begin inspections of car fairs and road side sales.

“The Commission will start to take stronger enforcement action, including taking prosecutions, where it finds failure by traders to comply with the regulations, particularly in cases where the same traders are breaching,” Ms Battell said.

The Commission’s new publication Enforcement of the used motor vehicles consumer information standards regulations is available at http://www.comcom.govt.nz/publications/compliance/SIN%20Brochure.pdf or by calling 04 924 3600.


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