An Auckland vehicle trader has been fined $75,000 for misrepresenting consumers' rights when selling vehicles and failing to display essential information.
Vehicle Logistics Limited trading as Ssangyong Takanini was yesterday sentenced in the Papakura District Court on eight charges under the Fair Trading Act.
The company sold trade-in vehicles via $1 reserve auctions on Trade Me. In the listings, the vehicles were offered for sale on an "as is where is basis" and "no guarantee or warranty" applied.
Commerce Commission consumer manager Stuart Wallace said this case demonstrated that there were serious consequences for motor vehicle traders attempting to avoid obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).
"Traders cannot evade their responsibilities to provide guarantees and remedies under the CGA by using phrases such as 'end of life vehicle' or 'suitable for parts only but runs well'," Wallace said.
"Where consumers buy vehicles from traders, rather than private sellers, the purchase will always be covered by legal statutory guarantees, including that the vehicle is of acceptable quality and complies with its description.
"Any attempt by traders to mislead consumers about their rights is likely to breach the Fair Trading Act."
In sentencing, judge Gerard Winter said: "The company was lazy if not wilfully blind to its obligations in the internet space."
Winter said there was no difference between physical and online sales.
"Any attempt to contract out is extremely important ... particularly in the case of the internet which could lead to a breach of trust for consumers who use e-commerce in their daily lives," he said.
Five charges were for representations made in Trade Me listings and three were for failing to display or provide access to mandatory Consumer Information Notices.
Charges cover a total of 382 vehicles listed for sale on Trade Me, between June 2015 and January 2017, by two sales consultants.
Vehicle Logistics Limited changed the way it listed vehicles in January 2017, following notice of the commission's investigation.
The Herald has approached Ssangyong Takanini for comment.