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MTA welcomes crackdown on illegal traders

MTA welcomes crackdown on illegal traders

Motor Trade Association (MTA) welcomes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) announcement that six people have been convicted of illegal vehicle trading over the past month – but warns there are probably many more traders operating illegally.

Under the Motor Vehicles Sales Act 2003, individuals can legally only import three, or sell only six, vehicles in a 12-month period without being registered as a Motor Vehicle Trader.

While the increase in prosecutions is welcome, it still only represents a small portion of those who operate outside of the law, MTA spokesperson Tony Everett says.

Since July 2012, MBIE has investigated 358 cases of possible illegal vehicle trading. Of these, 279 have been finalised with 61 still under investigation and a further nine before the courts – meaning only 2.5 percent of all cases investigated end in prosecution.

“While these prosecutions are a good start, consumers need more protection. All the laws are already in place – they just need enforcement,” Everett says.

Each year, roughly 450,000 cars change hands between private sellers. Given the size of the market, it is likely the number of illegal traders operating is considerably larger than MBIE’s figures indicate.

While it is good to see those trading in forums such as Trade Me are being apprehended, and that a range of government agencies are helping track down illegal traders, many illegal traders operating at roadside sales venues and car fairs are slipping through, Everett says.

Another cause for concern is the increase in calls from people who have registered as traders – then ring up MTA to find out what their actual legal responsibilities are.

“Many of these callers have no idea what they are required to do. Even though they may be registered, and therefore complying with the law in that regard, there are still no assurances they are fully aware of their responsibilities as traders,” says Everett.

Buying and selling used cars is a billion-dollar market in New Zealand; buyers, sellers and regulators need to remain vigilant to the risks from those who seek to exploit others.

ends

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