• Buy Safe

Buy Safe Introduction

The New Zealand used car sales industry is one of the least policed and least audited industries in New Zealand.
Given how hard Kiwis have to work, let alone business owners who don’t get a chance to switch off. We need to trust and understand who and what we are dealing with when purchasing a motor vehicle.

Knowing what we know at Wholesale Cars Direct about the NZ car industry, taking on some of our experiences our sales team at Wholesale Cars Direct got together and wrote Buy Safe. We did this to help the non-educated buyer make an educated decision.
We have based Buy Safe on what we would do if we were buying a car. Buy safe is only our opinion

We cannot guarantee any car won’t break down, no car dealer can. Buy Safe can only help protect the now and eliminate a lot of risk, hopefully getting you started in the right direction.
New vehicles come out with new vehicle warranties as not even a New vehicle franchise can guarantee a new vehicle won’t break down the day after delivery, with second hand cars the risk is even greater.

Buying on price in a deregulated market knowing what we at Wholesale Cars Direct know, only means one thing, RISK.
It is unwise to pay too much but it is worse too pay to little. When you pay too much you lose a little but when you pay to little you could lose a lot.
Unfortunately for the car industry deregulation has come at a massive cost to the consumer when it comes to true quality and true service.

We hope with what you are about to read that buy safe helps you purchase your next vehicle with confidence and protects you from the risks that can exist when buying a vehicle in New Zealand.

How to Buy Safe by Team WCD
  • Are two keys important to you?
    If so ask if the vehicle has two working keys at the time of purchase or inquiry. Keys can be very expensive and the dealer may not have the margin to supply two keys if it only has one. They are second hand cars, it is a bit of a lucky dip if they have come with two keys. A lot of cars now have keys that are called proximity keys. They are not cheap so make sure they work. For a lot of late model Japanese and European cars a key replacement will be around $500, some $1000.
  • It is the little things that make the difference at a premium dealership like Wholesale Cars Direct.
    If you are buying a hatch back, SUV or station wagon and a rear parcel tray is important to you, check if it has one prior to purchase. These start at $300 to buy and some can be up to $2000 for the likes of a Mercedes.
  • Look for rust under the bonnet and especially under the vehicle.
    New Zealand being very costal and in certain areas of Japan where they salt the roads to remove ice/snow, makes rust a very high risk. Rust would be one of the largest risks on freshly imported vehicles from Japan and especially the UK. Every week the Director/buyer for Wholesale Cars Direct turns down hundreds of cars due to rust. It is really surprising seeing how many of these cars end up for sale in Auckland and around New Zealand. It is even more surprising to the extent rust gets let through the vehicle compliance stage on entry to the New Zealand car market.
    • Check tyres
      If the vehicle has been imported from Japan make sure the vehicle has not been fitted with Japanese snow tires. These are extremely dangerous when used on New Zealand roads and in our opinion should be illegal. Check for age related cracking and perishing on the side walls of any tires. It is unbelievable what some compliance shops will pass. You cannot trust the New Zealand standards here. Some compliance shops have fixed price compliance including tires. Compliance shops are a business, they need to make money and some make money by supplying the cheapest parts to be competitive at the cost of quality and sometimes safety of the public. Our Director once queried an inspector at a compliance shop that passed a set of tires that three other workshops failed. The Director asked the inspector if he would drive around in this car with his own family in it on these tires, the inspector replied - “no”. Cars are cheap for a reason, especially in Auckland. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the price variants throughout New Zealand to see quality has been sacrificed so much to put out the cheapest car for sale.
    • A spare wheel can be a very contentious issue for Kiwi’s, the newer the car the more likely it is that there are different options to spare wheels. Make sure you understand what is offered with the car you are buying and how it works.
    • Check that the stereo actually works if this is important to you.
      If buying a freshly imported vehicle from Japan, please note that Japanese stereos do not receive New Zealand radio stations. If this is important to you; stipulate that you would want a band expander in the car at the time of purchase and to be installed upon delivery. The dealer may want to charge you for this. Be careful here as to the quality as generally the cost starts at fifty dollars, quality does matter here. But for example a late model European car it can get very expensive.
      Should the car have stereo controls on the steering wheel and it is important to you that they work you have to make sure that they do, especially if the stereo is or has been replaced. If it is an aftermarket stereo unit, quite often this feature is lost.
    • Auction sheets
      Under development – Information coming soon.
  • Organize your own full mechanical check.
    This is a large reason why Wholesale Cars Direct operates. The Director once worked for a yard that had all cars appraised by a very reputable company. The dealer received two copies of the Appraisals, a clean copy and a real copy with the faults. The faults never got fixed, appraisals are just a glorified warrant of fitness check list in our opinion that do not show the true state of a vehicle. Many dealers will get these so you won’t get a full mechanical check.
    We personally recommend the consumer organizing their own full AA, VINZ or VTNZ mechanical report. If you organize your own check you will get the report, not the dealer. This is especially important if the vehicle has travelled over 60,000 kilometers. higher the kilometers, higher the risk. Yet a 60,000 kilometer car can be full of rust. A dealer advertising that the vehicle has passed the NZ standard compliance check really doesn’t mean much. We have learnt from our own experiences that what one NZ compliance inspector may pass in compliance, another may fail. This is also why in our opinion appraisals are not worth the paper the checks are written on. We wouldn’t accept a report from a dealers own in-house inspection team, always insist on your own choice of un biased and independent operator.
  • Never, under any circumstances buy any imported vehicle without a certified odometer certificate.
    Replaced odometers and odometer tampering can still happen.
  • Trading your current vehicle:
    If trading your car, do not be fooled by dealers promoting 'minimum trade- in' amounts for your trade. This often only means one thing: You are paying too much for the vehicle you’re interested in. Also, if your trade price varies from car to car as you discuss alternative vehicles for purchase, walk out of the dealership. Find a dealer that deals in real figures.
  • Buying from out of town:
    This is something you should only contemplate from a trusted dealer and if you follow the buy safe guidelines the risk will be largely minimized. There is nothing worse than receiving a vehicle that is not what you expected. Make sure the dealer emails you or sends in writing the exact condition of the vehicle. There is also nothing worse than purchasing out of town and having a vehicle turn up with stone chips, scratched panels, curbed alloy wheels, smelling of cigarettes or a lot of rust. Its way to easy to photo shop a car and make an average car look like a sheep in wolf’s clothing so to speak.
  • In transit purchasing, be careful here as to what some dealers advertise.
    In almost all cases the dealer has not seen the car physically as very few dealers travel to Japan or the UK now. Unless the car is new, our experience of UK cars hasn’t been great through spec level being substandard to Japanese cars and too much rust.
    Japanese vehicles are simply high risk, but bought from the right dealer with morals and all information being fully transparent you could not buy a better second hand used car in our opinion.
    It’s generally the older generation dealers that advertise in transit as a lot of them specialize in buying accident grade cars and come across more desperate on price, sacrificing quality. In transit purchasing is high risk.
    If you do decide to purchase using this unseen method, make sure you follow our Buy Safe guide lines and ensure you add conditions to the purchase. i.e. a satisfactory independent mechanical check and sighting the auction sheet.
    If you don’t follow this guideline and don’t add conditions to the purchase when you sign a Vehicle Offer and Sales agreement (VOSA) with the dealer, should you exit the sale because you are not happy when the vehicle arrives the dealer has the right to keep the deposit you have paid.
    Our Director/Buyer turns down so many vehicles daily and unsurprisingly they end up at these types of car sales yards around New Zealand. It’s even more embarrassing to see some dealers list these cars with an instant was price and an instant now price when the vehicle is advertised in transit. To us that is just desperate marketing.
  • Vehicle Offer and Sales Agreement:
    When purchasing a vehicle from a dealer, you will have to sign a 'Vehicle Offer and Sales Agreement.' This is where you should Buy Safe and write the things we have discussed in this guide into the agreement; make sure you write, 'subject to your conditions' on this piece of paper. This will allow your deposit to be refunded, if the dealer does not fulfil their obligations.

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (Warranties).
  • We would only buy a car from a dealer that can offer these. The chances of your car suffering mechanical or electrical failure are many, many times greater than you needing to claim on your car insurance for an accident or theft.
  • Warranties offer protection over and above what dealers legal obligations are.
    They also provide a quick remedy for a customer, even when an issue is covered by the law. A quality MBI from a major recognised brand will enable the warranty company to deal with issues quicker and more smoothly than can be achieved by most vehicle dealers, especially if the breakdown is a large distance from home, as they so often are.
  • A Warranty ensures the customer does not have to rely on a vehicle trader who may not be as happy to see them back as they were when they first purchased the car! If there are any issues later with the required repairs, the warranty company is in the best position to remedy this.
  • The repairer will not wish to fall short of the expectations of a company who provides them so much work.
    • A quality warranty provides extra things such as rental cars, accommodation and roadside service, which provide superior protection and for a period of time far exceeding the Consumer Guarantees Act.
    • Also, what happens if the trader is now out of business? The CGA won't help you then!

Checkpoints when selecting a Warranty

  • Check your warranty is the best. When is the first service required? Some companies make you have your car serviced within the first 5,000 km or 3 months after purchase. This sometimes results in claim difficulties as it is easy to travel over 5,000 km when you have just purchased your nice new car! This will invalidate some warranties if there is a claim and it has not been serviced yet. Other companies do not ask for a service until 15,000 km or 12 months which is when most manufacturers recommend a service.
  • Check the Claim Limit. Some have claim limits on late model petrol vehicles and others do not. Some have modest almost unrealistically low claim limits, especially on special category and European vehicles that will not actually cover a large repair, while others are far more generous with their claim limits.
    • Check if you can use your own agent to service the vehicle and check who the approved repairers are, a reputable warranty company will have a large network of approved repairers
    • Check if the warranty covers diagnostics and if it has a clause that excludes wear and tear as these warranties will use this to avoid paying claims where they can.
Consumer Guarantees Act and what it means for your purchase

The Consumer Guarantees Act to us is a very grey area, as it comes down to what is deemed 'fair and reasonable.'

This is why we believe following our buy safe guidelines can eliminate a lot of issues from the start.

We attended a car dealer meeting in 2013 run by a very reputable company. The meeting was about the Consumer Guarantees Act. Many dealers were more interested (and some noticeably excited realising what they can possibly get away with under the Act). We were quite frankly embarrassed to be involved in the motor trade industry after hearing what we heard, but the meeting gave us great motivation knowing we do everything and more right at Wholesale Cars Direct.

The process of returning a car or getting certain faults fixed under the consumer guarantees act isn’t as simple as a lot of people think. Especially when buying a used motor vehicle in transit or out of town (you have no coverage under the Consumer Guarantees act if you choose to purchase through a private sale). There are many things including the age of the vehicle, kilometers travelled and overall condition that are taken into consideration. That’s why we focus on lower kilometer vehicles and will not sacrifice price for our quality or brand.

Even if you buy from a MTA member (Motor Trade association) there is a long process to go through to protect the consumer and also the dealer if you have issues after your purchase.

If you have purchased from an MTA dealer you will have more support on your side and a safer process if the dealer you are dealing with proves to be difficult after they have taken your money.

In most cases at the start of an issue the dealer has to have the opportunity to put things right under the consumer guarantees act. If the dealer refuses to help or doesn’t help to the level you feel you should be, you would have to check your rights with the MTA. From there depending on your rights you would need to lodge a claim at the dealer dispute tribunal. We can only wish you good luck if you haven’t bought safe or bought from a non MTA dealer at this point.

It is important to note that Wholesale Cars Direct has been open for 12 years, sold in excess of 16,000 cars and never once been to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.

In our opinion you should only buy from the most professional yards. To find true professionals you will need to check how transparent they really are, by asking as many questions as possible and following such guidelines as buy safe. Trust is not something associated with many car yards.

In 2013, Wholesale Cars Direct was the only used car dealer in New Zealand with a perfect 100% score by the Motor Trade Association for their best business practice audit. Quality is not an act at Wholesale Cars Direct, it is a true habit.

Please accept our invitation to come in and experience the difference Wholesale Cars Direct is bringing to the motor trade industry. The attention to detail is like no other dealership in New Zealand.

Buy Safe Checklist

Coming Soon.

A final suggestion from our team

When you enter a dealership look at the place you are visiting, the premises, the people and their web page.

Compare that with your expectations of quality and assurances and ask yourself how comfortable you are? Would you be able to go back there and ask for assistance after your purchase?

Do you feel like there is a quality that flows from the photos of the cars on the web page, their descriptions, the service and knowledge of the people you deal with and the actual cars when you finally get to inspect them.
Are you comfortable that every aspect is transparent and every question has been answered quickly and without guile?

Now challenge us here at WCD, you will definitely Buy Safe from us.
Whether it is from Wholesale Cars Direct or another dealer, we really hope we have helped you buy safe.

We all at Wholesale Cars Direct wish you all the best for your new purchase.