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If you sell used vehicles in New Zealand, you need to be upfront and transparent about the nature of the vehicles you sell. You need to inform customers about the important characteristics of the vehicle itself, as these will determine their decision. The law requires that you disclose certain information about your used vehicles so that customers can make a considered decision. This requirement is also to prevent fraud and discourage misleading sales tactics. You set this information out in a Consumer Information Notice (CIN), which every dealer that sells used cars must include in their sales. This article will provide some background for when you need a consumer information notice in New Zealand and what a CIN should contain.

What Is a Consumer Information Notice?

A CIN is a sheet of paper (or section on a web page selling your used cars) that details essential information about the used vehicle you are selling, such as its history and price. This document needs to be accurate and complete. Otherwise, you run the risk of misleading your customers and facing penalties under the law. 

What Should a Consumer Information Notice Include?

You need to ensure you display a CIN on every used vehicle you sell and that this document clearly outlines the information that the law requires. You need to include information about yourself as the dealer or seller. This includes your:

  • name and address;
  • business name; and
  • registration number, or auctioneers name if you sell at auction.

Your CIN also needs to display information about the car itself, which you can find through the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) on the Motor Vehicle Register if you have missing records. If any of these details change, you need to update your CIN. This information includes:

  • what year someone first registered the vehicle in New Zealand;
  • the make and model;
  • the vehicle identification number (VIN) or chassis number;
  • the actual distance the vehicle has travelled, or if you think the odometer is inaccurate, a note saying so;
  • any security interests or other money owing on the vehicle;
  • the price, including GST and any other registration and licensing costs;
  • if applicable, whether the vehicle is for sale by auction;
  • whether any road user charges apply;
  • the engine capacity and make;
  • the fuel type;
  • the registration plate number;
  • whether the warrant/certificate of fitness is current and its expiry date; and
  • whether the vehicle has a current licence and its expiry date.

CINs For Imported Vehicles

If you sell imported used vehicles, your CIN also needs to detail the:

  • fact that the vehicle is imported;
  • the year the vehicle was first registered overseas;
  • last country someone registered the vehicle in before it came to New Zealand; and
  • records of any damage to the vehicle when it came to New Zealand.

Your CIN also needs to summarise a customer’s consumer rights on the back of the page, including their options if something goes wrong. When you sell a used vehicle, you need to give the customer a copy of the CIN before making the purchase and acknowledge in writing that you have done so. Therefore, when the time comes to complete the purchase, you both need to sign the document. When you sign, you guarantee that everything in the CIN is accurate.

When Do I Need a Consumer Information Notice?

You only need to provide a CIN if you sell used motor vehicles. Under the Motor Vehicle Sales Act, these are any road vehicle that a consumer would typically buy and use for personal or domestic use. For example, a motor vehicle qualifies as ‘used’ if, before the current display or sale, someone has already used or registered it for a reason unrelated to its manufacture or sale.

Motor vehicles that you have used for demonstration models qualify as a used motor vehicle.

These rules do not apply to people selling motor vehicles to each other in private sales. However, they will apply to you if you are in the business of vehicle trading, including:

  • importing;
  • wholesale;
  • auctioneering; or
  • consulting.

If a customer finds that your CIN is incorrect or misleading, they can complain to the Commerce Commission, who can investigate and begin legal proceedings. Additionally, they can apply to the Motor Vehicles Disputes Tribunal for compensation.

How Should I Display a Consumer Information Notice?

Your CIN needs to be:

  • easily readable from outside the vehicle;
  • attached prominently to the vehicle;
  • on A4 white card or paper; and
  • filled out accurately and legibly.

If you sell online, the CIN needs to be in the advertisement of the relevant vehicle and on the same webpage of any contracts for that vehicle.

Key Takeaways

A Consumer Information Notice is a document that provides essential information about the used vehicle you are selling. If you are a motor vehicle trader, you need to include an accurate CIN whenever you sell a used vehicle to a customer. You also need to ensure you display it prominently. This rule applies both physically and when selling online. If you would like more information or help with your consumer information notices, contact LegalVision’s experienced regulatory and compliance lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does CIN stand for?

CIN stands for Consumer Information Notice. It is a card that you attach to any used vehicle you sell that includes crucial details about the vehicle. This includes its history, specifications, and other additional information.

When do I need a Consumer Information Notice?

As a trader, you need a Consumer Information Notice whenever you are selling a used vehicle. You may also need additional information, like a fuel economy label. Private individuals do not need to provide a CIN.

What qualifies as a used motor vehicle?

A motor vehicle is any vehicle that a customer buys for personal or domestic use. It qualifies as used when someone else has already used or registered the vehicle for a reason outside its manufacture or sale.

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