New law for selling secondhand goods
We all like to get a bargain. Secondhand stores, pawnbrokers and online auctions can offer some great deals. But in the past, these retailers were sometimes used by criminals to offload stolen goods. From April this year, law changes mean that selling stolen goods becomes more difficult.
The Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act makes it harder for criminals to dispose of stolen goods, and makes it easier for Police to recover stolen items and solve burglary and theft crimes. The Act applies to online as well as shop-based secondhand dealers, and to stalls at markets and fairs.
Anyone who is a secondhand dealer or a pawnbroker needs to be licensed.
New protections and procedures
Secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers must see and keep a record of a seller’s photo identification, such as a driver’s licence or passport. They must keep these records in case there is a problem in the future.
Also, secondhand dealers must hold goods for 14 days before they can sell them. This allows goods that are reported stolen to be found more easily, and found before they can be on-sold to unsuspecting consumers.
The new Act also imposes higher penalties for secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers who are in trade but are not licensed, or who are not keeping proper documentation of goods, sellers, or employees. The Police can require a secondhand dealer or pawnbroker to show their records at any time.
New secondhand dealer and pawnbroker requirements
There is a new licensing and certification regime, run by the Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Licensing Authority (part of the Ministry of Justice). It licenses secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers, and certifies certain employees of licence holders after a police check. It also maintains public registers of who holds licences or certificates under the new Act.
Licences can be held for only five years, and any staff who accept secondhand goods for sale will have to be certified. Secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers have to display their licence or certificate so it is easy to see at their place of business. If you are buying from or selling to a secondhand dealer or pawnbroker, make sure you look for their licence.
Secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers must keep a comprehensive record of goods they receive and details of the sellers – this applies to internet sites, markets and fairs, too. Promoters of the markets and fairs must keep records so they know who was selling what, and when.
Secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers must also maintain comprehensive records of their employees’ details.
Do you need to be a registered secondhand dealer to sell at an online auction?
If you are selling your own property, which you originally got for your own use, you usually do not have to hold a secondhand dealers licence to sell at an online auction.
Want more information?
For more information on the Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act, and a full list of secondhand goods defined by the Act, visit the New Zealand Police website (see Info4traders).
For more information on buying or selling at auction, or information on your rights when you buy secondhand goods, visit our website (see the Consumer Information section).