Fit for the road
14 March 2011
You’ve fallen in love with a racy little car from the caryard down the road. And you’re just about ready to commit. Not to spoil the fun, but there are some important checks you need to do to avoid heartache down the road. If the car has a bit of a history, it’s best to find out now because it might turn out that you are just not right for each other.
Check the official things
You should check the Consumer Information Notice and whether there is money owing on the vehicle, that the trader is registered (especially if you are buying on the Internet. All car-yard traders who sell motor vehicles must be registered as motor vehicle traders and they must attach a Consumer Information Notice to every used vehicle they sell. This tells you a bit about the car’s history.
Traders have to tell you if there is money owing on the car from the previous owner. You can also double check by searching on the Personal Property Security Register (www.ppsr.govt.nz).
Check the quality of the vehicle
It's best to have the vehicle checked before deciding if you wish to purchase it. Then you will know exactly what condition it is in at the time you buy it. If any problems are found, you could ask the trader to fix the problems before you buy the car. Or you could decide not to buy it.
Check the cost
Don’t be pressured into buying before you are really sure. If a trader tells you they’re offering you a good deal, compare the price of similar vehicles at other yards.
Many car-yard traders offer finance deals, but if you need credit you should shop around for the best interest rate and low fees. Remember that buying on credit or taking out a loan will usually add to the overall price.
Read very carefully what you are signing. Don’t can get caught out by signing something you haven’t read properly.
The Consumer Guarantees Act applies to both new and used vehicles of a kind ordinarily bought for a ‘personal or domestic purpose’, but not if you buy at an auction or from a private person. It says that the car must be an acceptable quality, durable, match its description and be fit for any particular purpose you tell the seller you will use it for.
The Fair Trading Act applies even if you buy at auction, but not when you buy from a private person. It says the trader must not mislead or deceive you, or make false representations about the vehicle.