How the PPSR can help when you're buying used goods

Checks you should make beforehand

Before buying a second-hand motor vehicle, or other valuable used property, it pays to be sure there’s no money owing on it.

Buying a motor vehicle privately

By searching the PPSR, preferably before agreeing to buy a vehicle, you can check whether any third party has a financial interest in the vehicle. The last thing you want is for the vehicle to be repossessed because of an outstanding debt owed by the previous owner.

Searching the PPSR

To make a motor vehicle search, you will need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), chassis and registration (plate) number. You should also note the make, model and year of the car to help positively identify the car, should your search of the PPSR return any results.

What your PPSR search results will tell you:

  • If the search results show a registered security interest, the vehicle could be repossessed from you.
  • If there are no search results returned, the vehicle is unlikely to be repossessed.

Buying a vehicle from a registered motor vehicle trader

If you are buying a vehicle from a registered Motor Vehicle Trader, you shouldn't need to search the PPSR, however, it doesn’t hurt to do so.

You can also search the Motor Vehicle Traders Register to find out if a motor vehicle trader is registered under the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 and therefore legally able to trade.

A registered trader must tell you if there is any money owing on the car. Be sure to check the Consumer Information Notice (CIN or Window Card).

Before buying a car, you should also carry out a number of other checks

Consumer Protection has a range of consumer information on buying a vehicle and information for consumers having problems with a motor vehicle purchase (including when money is owing on a vehicle).

Motor Vehicle Search

Buying other goods

It’s also well worth checking the PPSR when buying:

  • second-hand items with an original value of more than NZ$2000
  • a boat that is less than 24 metres in length. The Ship Registration Act 1992, administered by Maritime New Zealand, generally applies to ships over 24 metres in length but some smaller boats and pleasure vessels may also be registered under that Act. If in doubt, it may pay to check both the PPSR and the Maritime Register of Ships
  • an aircraft.
Search the PPSR

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