$30k fine for selling too many vehicles

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 15:40 02/07/2014

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An unregistered vehicle dealer has been fined a record $30,000 following his fifth conviction in eight years.

The 61-year-old Waiheke Island man, Brett Eric Collins, was convicted in the Auckland District Court of unregistered trading in motor vehicles.

He sold eight vehicles in 12 months, which exceeded the limit of six allowed under the Motor Vehicle Sales Act.

The $30,000 fine last month was the largest imposed under the act, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said.

Fines for unregistered vehicle trading usually average about $4600. 

Ministry registries integrity and enforcement team manager Karla Flood said the heavy penalty reflected the fact this was the man's fifth conviction since 2006 for the same offence.

"This defendant continued to sell motor vehicles for several years, despite several previous convictions for selling motor vehicles without being registered," she said.

"This prosecution is a reminder to the motor vehicle trade that enforcement action will be taken for those that don't abide by the rules."

The number of unregistered traders in motor vehicles was rising largely due to a change in trader behaviour towards online markets, she 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.

"This penalty sends out the message that this kind of reckless behaviour will not be tolerated."

The registrar of motor vehicle traders worked with organisations such as Trade Me, New Zealand Customs and New Zealand Transport Agency to help identify unregistered traders and investigated 228 unregistered traders over the past year.

Of those, 185 investigations were finalised with no court action needed, 23 remained under investigation, and 20 cases were before the courts.

Nineteen convictions were obtained in the past year.

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