Trust & Safety Blog

What are your obligations as a seller of motor vehicles?

Car -badges

We recently wrote a post about what makes you a Motor Vehicle Trader in NZ. To follow on from that post we thought it would be good to delve into what your obligations are as a Motor Vehicle Trader. 

Trade Me cares about doing our best to make sure our site is a great place to buy and sell, which means we want our members to be as informed as possible.

To recap on our previous post, the motor vehicle industry in NZ is governed by the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 (MVSA). If you are deemed to be a Motor Vehicle Trader (MVT) under this Act, you will also have obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (CGA) and the Fair Trading Act 1986 (FTA). If you fail to meet these obligations you could incur liability and may end up at the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.

What are these obligations?


Firstly, if you are a MVT then you must be registered . If Trade Me determines that you are a MVT but you are unregistered, your account will be suspended until you register.

The Consumer Information Notice

A Consumer Information Notice (CIN) provides information about a used motor vehicle’s history. If you are a MVT then you are obliged to physically display a CIN on any used motor vehicle, regardless of whether the vehicle is sold in a car yard, on the side of the road or on a website like Trade Me. If you are selling your car online then you must provide a link to the CIN or a clear image of the CIN on the listing.

Warrant of Fitness

On any vehicles you want to sell, the New Zealand Transport Agency requires you to have a warrant of fitness (WOF) issued that has at least 1 month remaining when the buyer takes possession.

Consumer Guarantees Act

Under the CGA you have an obligation to ensure that all vehicles you want to sell are of acceptable quality and are also fit for the purpose for which they are advertised.

Fair Trading Act

The FTA requires that you don’t engage in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive, whether generally, or in relation to the goods. This means that vehicles must be described accurately.

Two final points to emphasise:

  1. A MVT cannot do ‘private’ sales on Trade Me.
  2. If you are a MVT then you’re “in trade” and this needs to be made clear on your Trade Me membership by adding the “in trade” status to your account. 

Cheers for taking the time to read this – happy car-selling!

What makes you a Motor Vehicle Trader and why should you care?

Classic Car Dashboard

Buying and selling motor vehicles on Trade Me is as popular as ever. We thought it would be a good time to remind sellers out there about the importance of knowing whether you’re a Motor Vehicle Trader or simply a private seller who only sells motor vehicles from time to time.

What you auto know

The motor vehicle industry in NZ is governed by the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 (MVSA), and if you are deemed to be a Motor Vehicle Trader (MVT) under this Act, you will also have obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (CGA) and the Fair Trading Act 1986 (FTA).

Section 8  of the MVSA outlines how you could be considered a motor vehicle trader. The two most common ways are:

  • if you sell more than six motor vehicles within a 12-month period and you do this for the primary purpose of gain
  • if, when selling vehicles, you behave in a way that would lead a buyer to believe you are a motor vehicle trader.

It is pretty easy to work out whether you have sold more than six cars in a year, but it can be a little trickier to determine whether you are behaving in a way that would lead a buyer to believe you are a motor vehicle trader.

An example of behaving this way could be if you are a lover of cars and you only sell six cars a year, however you do this to make a bit of spare cash on the side. You also know a reasonable bit about cars so you advertise them pretty well. In this instance it could be argued that you are behaving in a way that is similar to a motor vehicle trader. In this instance you might be deemed a MVT even if you have no intention of being a one.

Pump the brakes

If you are deemed to be a MVT then you cannot sell cars under a private Trade Me membership. In order to comply with the FTA and CGA, if you are a MVT then you will need to make it clear on your Trade Me membership that you are “in trade”. You will also need to become registered as an MVT with the Motor Vehicle Traders Register.

If you say you are a private seller when you’re actually a MVT, this could be considered misleading and deceptive conduct under the FTA.

All this may seem a bit heavy, but Trade Me really cares about making sure the site is a great place for members to trade together, and that our members are well-informed about their rights and obligations. Plus, it’s always good to know where you stand so that you don’t get caught in an exhausting position.

So now you know if you are a MVT, here's your obligations when you sell on the Trade Me site

Creative Commons image used courtesy Garry Knight on Flickr. 

Are we on good terms?

In 2013, Parliament passed a whole bunch of changes as a result of the Consumer Law review, including some changes to the Fair Trading and Consumer Guarantees Acts. Some of these changes affected Trade Me members, so we’ve blogged about declaring your ‘in trade’ status, substantiating claims, layby sales and buying via online auction. More changes to the Fair Trading Act come into force next week, relating to contracts that consumers have with businesses like Trade Me, such as our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

The ‘unfair contract terms’ legislation covers contracts that businesses enter into with their members or customers. It covers where the member doesn’t have the opportunity to negotiate the terms, as they’re offered on a take it or leave it basis. You’ll see these all the time as a consumer – think of the contracts with your gym, internet provider, and phone or electricity company.

From 17 March 2015, businesses will be required to ensure terms in their consumer contracts aren’t unfair. Businesses also have to ensure that their terms are transparent, accessible and easy to read. For Trade Me members, terms can be considered unfair if they create an imbalance in the parties rights and obligations, creates detriment, or aren’t necessary to protect Trade Me’s business interests or it’s community.

Here at Trade Me, we think our terms and conditions are already pretty fair. We’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to clearly explain how any changes we make will be communicated to you, and also to clarify what kind of conduct we won’t tolerate from our members. Check out our newly updated Terms and Conditions.

Now is a great time to think about which businesses you have a contract with. Take a look at their terms to make sure you think they’re fair. For more information, you can check out the Commerce Commission’s guidelines. We’d love to hear your feedback on these changes, so feel free to drop us a line.

Car parts wanted category has closed

1970 Mustang Mach 1 -rusted -beatup

Today we said goodbye to our Car parts wanted category.

There were two deciding factors for this. Firstly the interest in listing under this category has declined significantly over the last few years. Secondly, compared to other categories on the site, we see an abnormally high trend of text scamming and non-delivery within this category. The latter was (and always will be) our primary concern. Combining these two factors, we made the call to close the category.

Your safety is our priority, and we sing about this frequently in our Trust & Safety blog.

Our advice remains the same: NEVER place contact details in listings or Q&A and only complete trades through Trade Me. This cuts down the opportunities for scammers to take advantage of our members and get hold of your details.

Keep in mind that you can still pick up rare car parts in our dedicated Car parts & accessories category. If you are looking for something in particular you can always save a Favourite search or category and we’ll email you if the item is listed for sale on the site.

Remember to keep these simple tips in mind when trading to keep yourself safe from scams:

  • Never place contact details in the Q&A
  • Never send money overseas
  • Only complete trades through Trade Me
  • Check the sellers account outto make sure they aren’t a lemon
  • For extra security, use Pay Now (credit or debit card payment for purchases).

While this may sound scary, Trade Me is a safe place to buy and sell. But knowledge is power, which is why we want to share this information with you.

Creative Commons image used courtesy Vetatur Fumare on Flickr. 

Our policy on recreational drugs and related goods

We’re all about community here at Trade and we like to keep it clean. Recreational drugs have great potential for abuse, even the legal ones, which is why we have chosen to put in place a blanket ban on listing them for sale on-site.

There are two parts to this policy: recreational drugs themselves and related goods.

Recreational drugs (the ones Cheech likes)

We have a blanket ban in place, so you won’t be able to list any kind of recreational drug (herbal or chemical). Obviously, this includes drugs like methamphetamine and cannabis, but it also includes party pills and synthetic cannabis, as well as NOS canisters.

Over-the-counter recreational drugs are also out. This is because while they might be legal, they are often age-restricted R-18 and we’ve made the call to not to allow them to be sold either.

You cannot sell datura or peyote based plants and the like. 

Cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol may not be listed, however some approved members may sell wine.

Related goods

Any items related to the cultivation or consumption of recreational drugs are considered ‘related goods’ and are banned on-site. This includes:

  • Bongs, hash pipes, roach clips, or any similar product used primarily for cannabis inhalation.
  • Pipes used for methamphetamine inhalation and the like.
  • Books that promote drug making. These are usually banned from sale by the Office of Film and Literature Classification. Sorry, Uncle Fester.
  • Hydroponic growing equipment. While there are plenty of legitimate uses for this kind of gear (and yes maybe Mum was indeed just using it to grow tomatoes) we don’t want to support cultivation. The definition of such gear is at Trade Me’s temperament.
  • E-cigarettes and batteries.These cannot be sold either as they are very difficult to manage on site.

Listings may not use wording which promote the use of drugs. For example you cannot say things like “awesome hookah, great for smoking pot!”.

There are a number of fringe items out there that do not necessarily promote recreational drug use. For example, 'collectible herb grinders'. For now, we are happy for these to continue to be listed as long as you do so in a way that does not encourage their use as a tool for drug consumption. Don't make us change our mind...

If you’ve got an unusual item that doesn’t feature here, just ask yourself, is this something that would be used for the consumption, promotion or cultivation of recreational drugs? If the answer is yes, or you’re not sure, then don’t list it.

We're not complete grinches. Here are some permitted goods

  • Tobacco pipes
  • Salvia plants and seeds.We’re happy for salvia plants and seeds to be listed, as many a gardener loves to grow these for their beauty. However don’t even think about selling the dried herb for recreational use.
  • Hookah pipes, also known as shisha or sheesha pipes. These are devices used to smoke fruit flavoured tobacco. They can be pretty ornate and cool looking, and the government has recently removed the prohibition of their sale.

Remember, we at all times reserve the right to remove any listings, for any reason.

Stay safe and happy trading!