Motor dealer advertisements

Guidelines for media advertising staff

If you publish advertisements from motor dealers about motor vehicles, you have certain obligations under the law. The Australian Consumer Law, the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013, the Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation 2014 applies to published advertising of new, second-hand and demonstrator motor vehicles for both print and online advertising.

Advertising charges

Advertisements must show the purchase price of motor vehicles (other than second-hand motor vehicles) and the cost of any dealer’s charges. Ads must also show any statutory charges but do not have to specify their dollar amount. Dealer charges refer to amounts other than the purchase price or statutory charges, that are payable to the dealer before or on delivery of the vehicle. Statutory charges include: any tax or fee payable on registration or renewal of registration, any duty charged or any premium and duty payable in respect of insurance issued or deemed to be issued under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999.

Ads must not use the expression ‘on road costs’ or any other similar expression to describe statutory charges.

Price-related advertising

The advertised price is an important factor in advertising and should not be misleading or deceptive.

Advertisements must specify the cash price of the vehicle when:

  • the advertisement specifies or implies that the price of a second-hand or demonstrator vehicle has been reduced or,
  • a reduction is related to the manufacturer’s recommended retail price.

Advertising of odometer reading

If an odometer reading is listed on an advertisement, it must be correct.

Advertising of damaged vehicles

Where damaged vehicles are offered for sale, advertisements must include a disclosure statement saying that the vehicle has been damaged and whether or not the damage has been repaired (other than a second-hand motor vehicle). This message must be in writing and the same size and prominent.

False and misleading advertisements

Advertisements should not make statements or representations that are not true or likely to mislead or deceive. For example:

  • when the term ‘drive away’ (or similar) is being used, the consumer should not expect to pay any more than the advertised price and
  • statements and/or pictures in advertisements should not mislead consumers as to the type or quality of the vehicle being offered.

Advertisement checklist

Below is a advertisement checklist that can be used when space is available. It alerts car buyers to check the advertisement details.

NSW Fair Trading requires motor dealer advertisements to include:

  • licensee’s name (individual, company or business name if listed on the licence) and telephone number
  • registration number of second-hand vehicles or entry/stock number if unregistered (where a price is specified)
  • dollar amount of dealer’s charges for new cars
  • statement that government and statutory charges apply  (if not included in the price) for new cars.

This information has been produced in cooperation with the Australian Publishers’ Bureau. Publishers can help put a stop to misleading advertising before it reaches consumers. This benefits the community and helps to improve the general quality and credibility of advertising.

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