Six 'cowboy' car dealers have been banned from trading for five years by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for serious breaches, including failing to comply with orders from the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.

Stephen O'Brien, registrar of motor vehicle traders and manager of trading standards at MBIE, said there are a significant amount of unregistered traders selling large numbers of motor vehicles.

"The number of unregistered traders is increasing as the online sale of cars has become more common in New Zealand since the rise in trading websites," O'Brien said.

MBIE's trading standards team obtained 18 convictions for unregistered trading over a 12 month period.


"The purchase of a motor vehicle is likely to be one of the largest purchases a consumer will make and it is vital that consumers have confidence in the industry," O'Brien said.

"Unregistered motor vehicle traders are not subject to the checks that apply to those who are registered and consumers may have less protection when something goes wrong."

In order to protect consumers when purchasing a car, registered motor vehicle traders have a number of responsibilities under the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003.

These include; traders must display a Consumer Information Notice, keep a record of the contract for sale, and prohibit tampering with the odometers of a motor vehicle.

"Our primary objective is to obtain voluntary compliance from traders with the Act," O'Brien said.

"In the cases where the trader does not engage with the Registrar, or refuses to comply, we will investigate and take the necessary action."