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MVDA Changes Drive Better Deal For Consumers

Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Anderton and Commerce Minister Paul Swain have announced changes to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act that will mean a better deal for consumers and the car industry.

The Ministers say the 25-year-old Act no longer adequately addresses the needs of consumers or the industry.

"It's been a political football which has been kicked about over the last decade, it's time to make changes for the better," said Commerce Minister Paul Swain.

"This Labour Alliance Coalition Government is committed to solving problems and we have consulted with the industry and consumer groups such as the IMVDA and the Consumers Institute so that we get these changes right," said Jim Anderton.

"The key features being announced today are accurate information for car buyers, credible and accessible redress when things go wrong, a comprehensive Motor Vehicle Traders Register, strong incentives for trader compliance, and the ability to ban unsuitable people from trading," said Acting Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Anderton.

Paul Swain highlights the changes to the sales process, "People are now buying from different types of traders, and these reforms extend coverage of the law to all motor vehicle sales, except private sales.

"The changes will significantly reduce compliance costs for existing licensed traders, and spread costs across the industry.

"We are making sure that car buyers know who they are dealing with.

"First of all, anyone involved in selling motor vehicles (apart from private sellers) will have to register on a Motor Vehicle Traders Register.

"This will include car fair operators, auctioneers, insurance and finance companies who dispose of vehicles (other than by auction), car rental companies, importers and wholesalers.

"Traders who register must have no convictions within five years of registration for dishonesty crimes such as fraud and odometer tampering.

"We are also establishing a banned persons list. This list will include people who while registered have been convicted for dishonesty crimes, have become insolvent, have been banned as company directors, or have contravened the registration requirements," said Paul Swain.

Jim Anderton, acting Consumer Affairs and Customs Minister says "The reforms will see improved protection for consumers. A new Consumer Information Standard will require more and better information to be provided than the current window notice. People who buy from a registered dealer will be guaranteed ownership of the vehicle and will not face repossession if money is still owing on the vehicle by previous owners.

"They will also have better access to redress if things go wrong. The jurisdiction of the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal has been extended. The Tribunal will now hear claims under both the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act, and will not be limited to vehicles sold only by licensed dealers.

"And traders will have greater incentive to comply with the law. There will be heavy punishments for those who do not register. More resource will be put into detection, investigation and prosecution, and punishments for breaking the law will be heavier.

"In 1998 the previous National government introduced proposals to change the law for this industry, but it all got too hard for them. This government is making changes that will be good for the industry and honest dealers," Jim Anderton said.

The Motor Vehicle Sales Bill will be introduced to parliament later this year.

Ends

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