From 1 July, Trade Me is making it mandatory for vehicle traders to reveal if Aussie imports they are selling have been written off. Once written off in Australia, a car can’t be driven in that country but some vehicles are exported to New Zealand and sold to buyers who may not be aware of the car’s history.

Jon Duffy,* Trade Me’s manager of trust and safety, said consumers needed to know the history of a vehicle so they had the opportunity to have it inspected.

“The damage may only have been repaired cosmetically to get the vehicle past border compliance and there could be underlying safety issues, particularly with regard to electrical componentry,” Mr Duffy said.

Those considering purchasing a vehicle imported from Australia can search the NZTA’s list of flood and fire damaged vehicles. You will need to know the vehicle identification number. However, the list is not comprehensive.

"We have discussed this issue with NZTA and, while they are doing their best to keep the information complete and current, the fact of the matter is it is not, and it needs to be," Mr Duffy said.

*Jon Duffy is a Consumer NZ board member.