In January this year we were granted access to the NZ Transport Agency’s Motor Vehicles Register (MVR). We requested access to this information for a few reasons:
- International scamming: From time to time scammers gain access to Trade Me accounts, typically through a phishing email sent to the genuine account holder, and use them to list a motor vehicle. Vehicles are a particularly popular target as their average value is significantly higher than other goods on the site. Listings are often created using images and descriptions of genuine vehicles listed either on Trade Me or elsewhere on the internet.
Our access to the register allows us to compare the ownership details of the vehicle advertised with the registration details of the membership listing the vehicle, and we can investigate when these don’t match.
- Unlicensed traders: Where individuals sell more than six motor vehicles in a 12 month period, they are required to be registered as a motor vehicle dealer. We work with our members to assist them in meeting their obligations, however there are those who intentionally set about trying to avoid these obligations by listings vehicles in excess of the registration threshold, using false identities or other members’ accounts.
Through the register, we’ll be able to verify the ownership of vehicles listed on the site and look behind any false or proxy accounts used by non-compliant traders.
- Property disputes: Although it’s rare to see stolen vehicles listed on Trade Me, we do come across issues of ownership with motor vehicles. This could come about following a business or relationship break-up, where joint assets are listed by one of the parties while ownership may still be in dispute.
By using the register, we can clarify whether the party has the right to list the vehicle.
If you’re selling a vehicle as a Motor Vehicle Trader, the Fair Trading Act will apply to you. This means representations of the vehicle’s history must be accurate. As an example, to suggest a vehicle is ‘brand new’ when it has been written off in Australia could well be a misleading representation, so make sure you include the vehicle's full story.
To avoid any sticky situations, we recommend a vehicle’s history be accurately described in the listing description. It’s better to be overly thorough rather than leaving anything to chance.
Thanks to the NZTA we can continue to work hard to make sure Trade Me remains a safe and trusted place to buy and sell. For more information on what our Trust & Safety team do on this front, check out their nifty blog.