Cars in dealership
Research report

Car buyers' rights

Here’s our guide to your rights if a car deal goes wrong.

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Naomi T
21 Nov 2018

Hi there, my daughter purchased a car In July 2017. A couple of weeks later the car started over heating. At first the salesman refused to take responsibility for the repairs and became very very angry! They finally said that they would repair it and told my daughter she would need to pay the difference in which at that point I stepped in as an advocate for her. When the repairs had 'apparently' been done there was no job sheet and they wouldn't tell us where their mechanic was located. Since then, my daughters car has been to a mechanic 4 times as shes too frightened for approach these people again. Is there any advice you can give of what her rights are? Cheers

Consumer staff
23 Nov 2018
Re: Car

Hi Naomi,

Sorry to hear that your daughter has experienced this. As she’s already visited 4 other mechanics, her rights may be limited but we’d need more information. If you’re a Consumer member, feel free to call our advice line on 0800 266 786 to speak with one of our advisers.

To see if she has any rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act, you can contact your local Community Law Centre for advice ( or your local Citizens Advice Bureau (

If necessary they will help you if you need to go to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal:

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Andrew S.
20 Jun 2017
Car Purchase


I'm writing in regards to where I stand in regards to a car I brought one and half years ago. I purchased a 2009 Holden Clubsport R8 (first registered in Nz on 21/12/2009) with 66,000km for $50,000 from a MTA registered Car Dealership. One and a half years and only 25,000km later it made a tapping sound, as it was booked in for a service on the Tuesday and the tapping began on the Saturday I drove it round to the Mechanics and left it there untill the Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon I recieve a call from the Mechanic and he informs me had I drove the car much further I would have completely blown the motor, he discovered a known fault with this Model which involves a faulty lifter in the engine. As it happens the lifter gave out causing damage to the Cam, he said I had two options, 1 being replace the lifter and cam and put it back together, however with missing metal shards running round the motor there would be a high possibility of the engine incountering more major problems in the near future. Option 2 being get the Motor completely reconditioned, both options requiring removal of the Motor, with a cost of anywhere between $4,000 to $10,000 depending on which option is taken. After hearing this news I contacted the Car dealer to come up with a resolution to the problem, after discussing the problem he said he would look into it for me but didn't think they could help me resolve the matter however had it been 7 or 8 year old model (which it is) it would be a diffrent story and I haven't heard back from him since, Paying over $50,000 for a car that lasted 25,000km since purchase and still has under 100,000km is unreasonable. Just wanting some advice on where I stand in regards to comsumers rights.

Thanks Kindly

Previous member
21 Jun 2017
Re: Car Purchase

Hi Andrew,

One of our advisers will contact you directly. You can also call our Advisory Service on 0800 266 786 as your membership includes this.

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Previous member
25 Feb 2017
Internet Trading - Link to CIN and always reflecting Price

As a registered MVT you state that if selling cars on the Internet you should always have a link to the CIN. Please can you point out the relevant section of the MVT Act that reflects this obligation?
Also does this imply that ALL vehicles sold via Internet (or on a Dealer's Website) MUST have the price reflected OR is it acceptable to reflect "POA" (Price On Application).
Many thanks in advance for your response!

Previous member
28 Feb 2017
Re: Internet Trading - Link to CIN and always reflecting Price

Hi Andrew,

The obligation to display a CIN if selling cars online is imposed by section 14 of the Motor Vehicle Sales Act ( and by the Consumer Information Standards (Used Motor Vehicles) Regulations 2008 (

The “total cash price” of the vehicle (including GST and any on road costs) must be listed on the CIN, unless it is being sold by auction or competitive tender.

The requirement to display a CIN online or to have a link to it only applies where the vehicle can actually be bought online (on Trademe, for example) and doesn’t apply to a simple advertisement, where 'POA’ would be perfectly acceptable.

Paul - Consumer NZ staff

Jacob S.
03 Mar 2016
How long post-purchase should CGA protections extend for a 50k mileage 4yo vehicle?

Take the scenario of a 4 year old vehicle with 50,000km on the clock, in good condition, and for good measure checked and passed by an independent vehicle inspector.

If a material non-wear and tear failure occurs or fault develops (>$1000 to fix, e.g. engine, auto transmission) within what timeframe post purchase would the dealer typically be obliged under the CGA to cover the costs. 6, 12, 18, 24 months?

Or what if the car was 3 years old, 40k km and just out of manufacturer warranty? Or going the other way - 6 years old & 90k km?

Is there much precedent out there as to circumstances (including factor such as vehicle age, condition and time post purchase) when vehicle purchaser claims to the MVDT or Dispute Tribunal seeking redress against dealers under the CGA have succeeded and/or failed?

If there was a bit of precedent data I'd love to see Consumer prepare a table mapping some typical age and odometer combinations (as a proxy for vehicle condition) to the minimum reasonable post-purchase period of CGA coverage for some typical fault types.

Keep up the good work.

Previous member
07 Mar 2016
re: How long post-purchase should CGA protections extend for a 50k mileage 4yo vehicle?

Hi Jacob,

Thanks for your suggestion. It’s a good idea but would be difficult to do in practice as price paid is also important.

For some idea of the complexity of the table needed, look at the 87 cases currently available from the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal which include references to the Consumer Guarantees Act.

To search the MVDT’s decisions, use the link below and put ‘cga’ into the search bar:

The cases are an interesting read!

Kind regards,

Consumer NZ staff