If your dispute is over a car bought from a dealer, you might need to use the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.
Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal(external link) — Ministry of Justice
You can use the Disputes Tribunal as an informal, inexpensive, quick forum to resolve claims involving products, services or property up to $30,000.
There no lawyers or judges. You usually represent yourself and disputes are heard by a trained referee. The referee works with both sides to try to reach an agreement. If they can't agree, the referee can make a binding decision.
The Disputes Tribunal can deal with a wide range of disputes including:
- whether work has been done properly or the correct amount charged
- faulty products
- loss caused by misleading advertising and false statements in sales
- hire purchase agreements (now called credit sales)
- disputes involving contracts or business agreements.
The Tribunal can’t deal with disputes relating to:
- debt collection where there is no dispute about the debt
- family law disputes eg care arrangements or child support
- welfare benefits or ACC payments
- wills, rates or taxes
- residential tenancy or employment matters.
When deciding on a dispute a referee can make an order:
- for payment to compensate for loss or damage
- to vary or cancel an agreement, contract or quote
- for repairs, refunds or returns
- that money is not owed
- that a claim should be dismissed, or struck out because it is outside the Tribunal’s jurisdiction
- that a supplier will take over responsibility to pay for products that were bought with finance arranged by the supplier but which have been rejected under the Consumer Guarantees Act.
How to get started
You usually need to file a claim within six years of the event that caused the dispute. There's a fee to make a claim. The latest fees are available on the Disputes Tribunal website.
It will take at least six weeks for your claim to be heard in a Disputes Tribunal.
How to make a claim(external link) — Disputes Tribunal
Forms and fees(external link) — Disputes Tribunal
Either party can apply to the Disputes Tribunal for a rehearing within 28 days of the order or agreed settlement if they believe:
- something prevented the proper decision from being made, eg relevant information was not available or a mistake was made, or
- the referee conducted the hearing in a way that was unfair or prejudicial to their case.
A District Court Judge will decide whether or not there are grounds for an appeal.