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Myths & confusion around motor sales legislation

Media release: Hon Judith Tizard, Minister of Consumer Affairs

11 May 2006

Myths & confusion around motor vehicle sales legislation

Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard has welcomed the annual reports from two Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal Adjudicators.

"Their reports have provided useful feedback and indicate that there appears to be some confusion about the current legislation and some myths surrounding the previous legislation."

"One area of confusion is the discontinued fidelity fund. The changes were made because the cost of administering it usually outweighed the benefits. The main beneficiaries were finance companies – not ordinary consumers."

"More New Zealanders are better off under the new regime – there are better protections in place. Now all regular vehicle traders must be registered. All New Zealanders – not just licensed car dealers - can get their concerns heard before the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal. Claims are being resolved more quickly and the penalties are also more stringent."

Adjudicators have asked to be given the power to publish tribunal decisions which promote and protect consumers' interests. This will be considered as part of an amendment to the legislation.

Earlier this year the Ministry released a review of the motor vehicle sales legislation. It is continuing to actively monitor and fine-tune the impact of the legislation. The Ministry is also exploring options to ensure that consumers are better informed about their rights when buying a car.

"This government is committed to consumer law that protects New Zealand consumers and provides a fair and competitive environment for business."

"But no legislation can provide a complete guarantee against risk. My advice to all vehicle buyers is to get good technical advice and to do your research before buying a new or used car. It's not about the spoiler or the sound system!"


Further information
- Adjudicators' annual reports: www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/businessinfo/mvsa/mvdt/index.html
- Review of the MVSA: www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/policylawresearch/mvsa-review/


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