Buying and selling privately
Issues with the goods in a private sale
What if the private seller made false or misleading statements about the goods?
You might be able to get compensation (“damages”) from the seller if they made a false or misleading statement to you about the goods or services that you bought, and you relied on that statement when deciding to buy the goods or services.
You might be able to cancel the contract if the statement was significantly false or misleading.
How am I protected if a private seller still owes money on what I bought?
You have the right to a refund or damages (“compensation”) if you’re sold goods in a private sale and, unknown to you, the seller didn’t have the right to sell the goods, or owed money on them, or had used them as security for a loan.
What if my goods get repossessed because the previous owner owed money on them?
A creditor might be able to repossess goods from you, if:
- you bought the goods privately
- and either:
- the person who sold you the good still owes someone else money on the goods, or
- someone else has a security interest over the goods
- and either:
- the item was worth more than $2,000 when the seller originally bought it or used it as security to take out a loan, or
- you knew about the security interest when you bought the goods, regardless of the value of the goods.
If a creditor does repossess something that was sold to you, you may be able to make a claim against the seller for a breach of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.
Note: When buying privately, you should check the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR) to see if there is any money owing on the item that could affect the seller’s ownership of it. You need to register to do this, but registration is free. It costs $2.30 to search the register. You can only search the registrar if you have a valid and lawful purpose for doing so (in other words, you can’t use it to snoop on someone). You can also text to check if there is money owing on a motor vehicle (see: “Steps you can take to protect yourself when buying privately”).
What happens if goods I bought in a private sale are faulty?
If the goods are faulty, you might have a right to compensation or to a full refund, depending on how serious the problem is. If you’re entitled to a refund, you can get the money back in cash – you don’t have to accept a credit note. If you prefer, you can choose to accept a replacement or repair instead of a refund or compensation.
If you’re not happy with the seller’s response, you can take them to the Disputes Tribunal (see: “The Disputes Tribunal”).