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Buying and selling

Updated: 16 December 2013

There's more to buying or selling a vehicle than exchanging the keys and money. Follow these easy steps to avoid getting caught with other people's unpaid licence fees and fines - whether you're the seller or the buyer.

The quickest and easiest way to notify us that you have bought or sold a vehicle is to do it online through our transaction centre.

On this page:

Have you bought or sold a vehicle?

Both the buyer and seller are required to notify us immediately when a vehicle is bought and sold.

Save time - do it online

The quickest and easiest way to notify us that you have bought or sold a vehicle is to do it online through our transaction centre.

If you're selling

  • Complete the Notice of person selling/disposing of motor vehicle form (MR13A) online or post it to our Palmerston North office.
  • Ask the buyer to give you a transfer receipt to show they are registered in respect of the vehicle before you hand over the vehicle.

If you're buying

  • Complete the Notice by person acquiring motor vehicle form (MR13B) and notify us of your acquisition online or visit one of our agents.
  • You will be required to provide ID and pay the notice of acquisition fee of $9.00 (including GST).
  • Request a transfer receipt, which you may need to give to the seller when you pick up the vehicle to show you are now registered in respect of the vehicle.

For more information, see Factsheet 41: Buying and selling: your legal obligations.

Note: If your vehicle weighs 6000kg or over, you will also need to apply for a transport service licence (if you do not have one already). Some other vehicles under 6000kg also require a transport service licence. For more information, see Factsheet 47: Transport service licences.

See more on how to notify a change of registered person.

Personalised plates

If you're buying a vehicle with personalised plates and you wish to have those plates, you'll need to negotiate this separately with the seller and complete a transfer agreement.

Find out more about personalised plates (external link).

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Advice for buyers

Do:

  • Notify your acquisition of the vehicle immediately after purchasing the vehicle.
  • remember to take suitable identification to the licensing agent.
  • remember to ask the agent for a transfer receipt, so you can show the seller that you are now registered in respect of the vehicle. Alternatively, complete the notification of acquisition online.

Protect yourself by asking:

  • Is any money owed on the vehicle? You can search the Personal Property Securities Register (external link)
  • Has the vehicle had an independent vehicle inspection?
  • Has the odometer been tampered with?
  • Are there any outstanding road user charges (RUC) payable?
  • Does the vehicle have a current RUC licence?
  • Does the vehicle have a current licence?

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Advice for sellers

Do:

  • Make sure you've paid all outstanding licence fees.
  • Notify the sale of the vehicle immediately. If you don't, you may receive the new registered person's:
    • speed camera fines
    • parking tickets
    • vehicle licensing fees for up to 12 months
    • fines for not displaying a vehicle licensing label
    • fines for not displaying a current warrant of fitness.

Don't:

  • Rely on the buyer to notify their acquisition.

Protect yourself

Wait for the buyer to show you proof that they've notified their acquisition before handing over the vehicle. This proof could be the receipted customer section of the Notice by person acquiring motor vehicle form (MR13B) issued by one of our licensing agents.

Change of ownership card.

Want more advice?

Visit the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website for more buying advice.

Also check:

  • Rightcar to see which cars offer the best in safety, economy and environmental features.
  • Buying a used car for tips on what to look for.

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