“Odometer readings are one of the major factors consumers look at when buying a used car.’’ NSW Fair Trading Minister, Matthew Mason-Cox. “As part of the changes, the maximum penalty for any dealer or repairer altering a car odometer will be doubled to $22,000.
“A new public Name and Shame register will also be established to allow consumers to check if a dealer or repairer has a current license and whether they have had disciplinary action or offences recorded against them.
“Consumers will be able to make more informed decisions about who to do business with and the threat of public shaming will give traders stronger incentives to comply with the law.
“These changes form part of a comprehensive package of reforms, due to start on the 1 December, with the start of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act.
“We believe these new laws will not only strengthen consumer protection but also lift standards in the motor vehicle industry.’’
Under the new laws, motor dealers will be required to disclose information about a vehicle being offered for sale. This includes information on whether the car has suffered hail or flood damage, if there has been odometer interference and if major modifications have been made to the car that might affect future registration or insurance.
NSW Fair Trading inspectors will have new powers to issue orders to licensed dealers and repairers to fix faults without a consumer having to take legal action.
The limit on claims to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Act’s Compensation Fund has also been increased from $30,000 to $40,000, to give consumers better redress for more expensive used vehicles.
“We are pleased with the support from industry and are confident that the changes will ensure a more efficient and modern marketplace,’’ said Mr Mason-Cox.
“A key change for the industry will be modernising the current licensing regime for the industry.
“From 1 December, the number of licensee types will be cut from 22 to just three – motor dealer, motor vehicle recycler and motor vehicle repairer.
“For the first time, businesses will also have the choice of a one-year or a three-year licence.
“Traders who choose a three-year licence will see cost savings and save time in dealing with government paperwork.
“Tradesperson certificates will need to be renewed every three years and a prescribed minimum qualification standard will be set for new tradespeople.
“We will continue to work with the industry to educate traders on new requirements and ensure they operated within the requirements of the new laws.’’
Mr Mason-Cox said the NSW Government was currently considering the outcomes of a recent Parliamentary committee inquiry into the relationship between vehicle repairers and insurers.
“I’m pleased to have received this important report and a whole of Government response will be released at the earliest opportunity,’’ Mr Mason-Cox said.