Brian Edwards Media

Our kids buy a car on Trade Me and get ripped off in a big way.

On 8 July of last year, our son Q and his wife Liv bought a 1998 Toyota Caldina from a seller on Trade Me for $3,600. They were satisfied with the sale and the car and Q gave this positive feedback to the seller: ‘The car was exactly as described in the ad.  All sorted out in good time. Great trade. Thanks.’

Yesterday a repo man from Pacific Dawn Finance (formerly a division of South Canterbury Finance) arrived at the kids’ house to repossess the car. Q was out of town and Liv was alone in the house with our small grandson and our granddaughter, who is one year old today.

The repo man was extremely kind and helpful. He explained that around $7,000 was owed on the vehicle by a previous owner. He knew how upsetting this must be and offered to make Liv a cup of tea.

Liv rang Judy and me in great distress. I spoke to the repo man and asked if it would be possible to defer the repossession for 24 hours, so that Liv could at least make arrangements to borrow another vehicle to take our grandson to kindy and generally get around. He reluctantly agreed.

I think the details of this case should be known. 

The vehicle’s registration is DYL825.

The debtor’s name is John Laszio Horvath or possibly Jon Laszlo Horvath.

The Trade Me seller goes under the name ‘erkan’.

The Trade Me listing number for the sale is #386472594

‘Erkan’ told Q that he was selling the car on behalf of his brother.

I rang ‘erkan’ last night and he told me he had sold the car on behalf of a friend who was at present in Australia.

I had a colleague inquire about a car which ‘erkan’ is currently selling on Trade Me. He told my colleague that he is selling that car on behalf of his sister.

In my conversation with ‘erkan’ I said that he was the person who had sold the car to the kids, that he was the responsible party and that I wanted him to return the $3,600 they had paid for the vehicle immediately. He repeated that it wasn’t his car. He had sold it on behalf of a friend.

Q and Liv’s options now are:

*To pursue ‘erkan’ through the Disputes Tribunal;

*To offer to buy the car back from Pacific Dawn Finance;

*To buy the car when it is auctioned by Pacific Dawn Finance;

*To write it down to experience and buy another car.

Of these options buying the car at auction may well be the cheapest. But Q and Liv will have ended up paying twice for the vehicle at a total cost far beyond its real value.

The whole thing stinks.

And yes, I know that the kids were remiss in not getting a vehicle history check before they handed over the cash. But the experience raised questions in my mind about the ease with which a vendor can offload a car in this country on which a huge amount is owing to a finance company, and about Trade Me’s responsibility to protect buyers from ratbag, unregistered car sellers.  

It seems to me that when an application to register a change of vehicle ownership is received, it ought to be possible for the government department concerned to flag the fact that money is owed on the vehicle.

Trade Me, which profits from car sales negotiated on its website has, in my opinion, an even greater responsibility to protect buyers from losing thousands of dollars on vehicles which turn out to be encumbered with debt. Not to do so strikes me as utterly irresponsible.

Tomorrow Q and Liv will hand over a car, which they bought in good faith and on which they owe nothing,  to Pacific Dawn’s repo man. It’s wrong and the law needs to change.  

If you have any information about ‘erkan’ or John Laszio Horvath that might be helpful, I’d love to hear it.

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  1. You’re right, your son should have checked the interests on the car. Quite simple really.

  2. The joke is that Trade Me knows this is going on all the time and does little if anything about it other than ‘warning’ people. They should shut down the account and forward details to you and the police. After all he took the money.

    Trade Me has been doing this for years, and as you highlight, they got a fee so have been part of the transaction.

    BE: Thanks. I entirely agree that Trade Me should furnish me with name and address of ‘erkan’.

  3. Always check the PPSR status of a car. It costs nothing to do it and avoids this situation completely.

    or contact the Companies office.

    BTW, I don’t work for or otherwise affiliated with CarJam or the Companies Office. Just offering helpful advice for car buyers.

  4. The question of Trade Me’s responsibility in the situation is interesting. What about a classified ad in the newspaper? Does the newspaper also have an obligation to provide screening and consumer protection? At the end of the day, Trade Me is simply a marketplace, matching a buyer with a seller. And they do far more in the background to protect buyers and sellers using the site than most people realise – and well above and beyond their legal obligations.

    In my opinion, the seller should have to indication of the change of ownership if there is still finance owning on the vehicle. Incorrectly indicating no would be clearly fraud, and it would give the buyer an opportunity to back out.

    Ultimately tho, caveat emptor, take it as a (expensive) lesson learned. Doing a PPSR check on a vehicle is very easy and cheap. I’m sure they won’t make the mistake again.

    BE: Thanks Adam. I’m sure the kids will be grateful for your sound advice.

  5. I’ve never understood why TradeMe doesn’t do an automated check on vehicles listed with them, and put a warning on the auction that “this vehicle may have money owing on it”.

    BE: Exactly, Ed.

  6. Brian have you used Google and OldFriends and such? Always interesting to find other places these reptiles might stupidly have left information. Then I suggest you get a couple of boys from the old country to pay him a visit. $3600 vs the use of his kneecaps might be a persuasive argument!

    BE: Tempting Mark. I’ve been offered assistance of that type. Probably not a good idea, though. I think it’s the Trade Me seller we have to go for – using legal methods!


    BE: Thanks Mark. Not a lot there unfortunately.

  8. Get yr kids to have a look at the pic, then you can start the process, but trust the legal system? Your call…

  9. Disgusting! I have left questions on his two auctions on TradeMe (as have others) – I am sure he won’t publish them but it might be a warning to others.

    BE: Thanks Jacqui.

  10. 10

    Dont hand this car over until you are sure that the finance company still holds a valid security interest. Have your kids seen all the paperwork? Remember that a security interest is not created by listing it on the PPSR. There must be a valid and enforceable agreement/contract in writing which grants a security in that vehicle. Ask the finance company to prove this to you. Also if the car has been onsold though a registered motor vehicle trader after the security interest attached but before Q bought it, then the sec int is automatically extinguished. You can look at the car”s history on motorcheck to establish this. And finally a repo agent or a finance company does not have the right to enter your property to reposess a car unless you agree to them doing so. The right to enter property only applies to the original debtor’s property because they have agreed to this in a contract. In the end if you don”t hand over the car they may be able go to court and get an order, but you do not have to hand it to them until you have had legal advice or are satisfied that they have a valid and enforceable interest. There is more information at

  11. This must be a crime.Shouldnt the police deal with it ?

    BE: That’s a question I’ll certainly be asking.

  12. Those auctions have just been removed “as they breached “our terms and conditions”.

    Good on you, Brian, for your part in this.

  13. I put a complaint in to TradeMe – assume others probably did the same. They’ve now had their account deleted.

    Doesn’t really help your kids, but at least it’ll help protect others from his dodgy dealings.

    BE: Thanks Ed.

  14. Brian, Trademe do have a site link on every car sale page where you can check the history, BUT it costs $19.95, You would think Trademe would provide this facility free to buyers. In fact you would think that all the sites where you can check a car would be free. Save the people and the courts etc money in the end.

    BE: Entirely agree, Odette

  15. 15

    Dont hand the car over tomorrow. Read this first

  16. 16

    Some important points here. The finance company or repo agent does not have the right to enter your property and take a car without your agreement. They can only enter the property of the original debtor, because he agreed to this in his contract. Take some more time. Tell them you are getting legal advice. They may have a right to that car, but they may not. They must have all their paperwork in order. Make sure the security interest is valid and enforcebale. Registration on the PPSR does not create a security interest, there must be a valid and enforceable contract in writing which lists that particular car as security in order for it to be enforceable. Ask for proof of this? and ask for proof of the amount of money owing. Also if that car has been onsold without notice of the interest by a registered motor vehicle trader after the security interest attached at any time before it was sold to your kids then the security interest is extinguished. You can look at motorcheck to find out the vehicle’s history.

    BE: Appreciate this advice, Joanne. Thanks.

  17. A quick check shows “erkan” is no longer on TradeMe. “He is disabled” it reads. I bet your family would like to do a touch more disabling.

  18. As a long time trade me user ,I have bought and sold several vehicles and have 1600 plus feedback status.My advice to all TM users is, ask questions and read feedback. If you are not a mechanical expert find someone who is to ask the questions or get an AA check.better still read AA’s advice when buying a car and follow it.
    I’ve never been ripped off on a vehicle purchase thru TM .carjam is worth using.
    I have had stuff get lost in the mail and had about 6 worthless trades in 8 years. Buyer beware at all times.

    BE: Fair enough. But Trade Me could avoid this sort of tragedy for people by making the checks an automatic part of its service.

  19. Adam, to answer your question. If I buy something from a store and it is faulty I have a right to take it back and ask for a refund. The store then goes to the person they were selling on behalf of and say please fix or repay. The store at the time may have paid for the goods but in most cases they have yet to pay. I see Trade Me as being a bit like the modern version of the store, sure they do not want to see it that way but given they take a 7-10% cut of the action then yes they do have a responsibility and I would suggest the courts if tested may see the fee charged as giving some form of responsibility.

  20. My son just purchased his first car off trademe this week. After seeing this exact same situation on Campbell Live last year i would not let him hand over his hard earned money until he had checked the finance history of his new car.

    He paid $1.20 on for this check.

    Hope it all works out for your son and his wife. Tough lesson, and it stinks that there are people out there that do this kind of thing.

    BE: Thanks Jacqueline. Appreciate your sympathetic response to the plight of a young family.

  21. Check the PPSR, unfortunate but no sympathy for them. There is a huge amount of info out there for private buyers and you can’t protect everyone from themselves. Buy through a licensed dealer with a VOSA and then even if there is money owing it can’t be repoed.
    Didn’t you have something to do with Fair Go ?

    BE: At least good to know that you’re someone with ‘no sympathy’, David. Yes, I did have ‘something to do with Fair Go’, you sarcastic arse. However, my adult family don’t consult me on every financial decision they make. Enjoy your smug satisfaction.

  22. Joanne a repo agent does have the right to collect the car from anywhere with a valid repo notice, the only time they can’t do it is on a Sunday,public holiday or after 9pm. If they have a valid repo notice and you obstruct them you will get arrested. You are right though in that if the car has passed through an LMVD member then it is deemed to be free of a security interest.
    Repo agents won’t act unless they have all the paperwork from the finance company as a general rule but this being SCF and the way they managed their paperwork anything is likely but that would be a case for the debtor and his outstanding balance rather than a valid security notice.

  23. Interesting. Trade Me intervened when one of my kids tried to sell her vehicle.

    We got an apparently innocent enquiry.

    Trade Me alerted us to a “phishing” scam.

    If they can do that they they could do their own debt checks and post alerts.

  24. “I know that the kids were remiss in not getting a vehicle history check before they handed over the cash”.

    Says it all………”remiss” or “stupid”?

    BE: Thank you Sarah for that understanding comment on a young family who have just lost $3,600 on a crooked deal. You must really enjoy being a smug, self-satisfied smartass.

  25. I think that remiss or stupid should be the term for the law which allows people to sell what is in effect not actually theirs.

  26. Haha, erkan has been disabled on trademe! This may be getting somewhere (hopefully). Sucks for the young family, best of luck. :)

  27. Sorry Brian, it’s not smug, self-satisfied or smartass to observe that anybody who hands over $3,600 without making basic checks is stupid.

    BE: Perhaps, but it’s neither a helpful nor productive contribution to the topic. I prefer humanity to self-righteous wisdom after the event.

  28. @ Ross and Sarah: It’s all very well you two people of the world pointing out what these kids should’ve done before they parted with the cash, but young people are no match for a seasoned turd out to rip novice purchasers off. Your ‘holier than thou’ attitude is not what these kids need now – where were you last month?

    The Ellerslie car fair is also riddled with people selling cars “on behalf” of a “friend” or “family member”. I can’t see why TradeMe, the Herald and anyone else who charges for advertising used cars can’t get the vehicle’s status checked and add it to the advertiser’s bill: that would cost them nothing and add greatly to their mana as responsible operators.

    Don’t forget erkan is very probably a motor trader under the legal definition (used to be 6 cars a year – sell 7 and you’re a dealer), and as such is liable to declare the car’s financial status. And maybe the taxman might be interested in seeing his books, should you ever find him. If he’s got any. Which I bet he hasn’t.

    Set up a fund Brian – I’ll lob in a dollar or two.

  29. @ ed

    “I’ve never understood why TradeMe doesn’t do an automated check on vehicles listed with them, and put a warning on the auction that “this vehicle may have money owing on it””.

    The second idea has merit, but there is no such thing as an “automated” credit check. It needs someone, at a cost (minimal charge as a one-off, but substantial if you do it all the time) to manually key in all the details for each asset on the PPSR.

    Which means someone has to be paid to do it, and the computer system have to be maintained. Which means costs to Trade Me, or the newspaper which is running the classified as (as Adam astutely noted above). Which would mean extra costs, passed on to other consumers. last I heard newspapers are already struggling to make a profit without even more costs and increased sales prices.

    So, a genuine sorry for the loss, but no, I don’t agree Trade Me should have to do it – not when tax-payer dollars pay for the PPSR.

    And I’m not sure, given the workings of the Privacy Act, how “Trade Me should furnish me with name and address of ‘erkan’”.

    I hope Q and Liv can at least take some solace that their mistake/human and understandable human oversight may serve to make others more aware of the potential pitfalls and preventative resources when purchasing any asset by means of a private sale.

  30. Do some of you people not realise that no matter how accomplished the children and how complete the family we all spend some time on learner wheels and a bit of empathy during that time might be nice? I remember being shocked after buying my first car to learn one was expected to negotiate with used car dealers. Not something I was used to. So in a more limited way I know how this feels.

  31. This is yet another example of the fact that NZ has NO effective law of contract in any way (the Govt won’t give us any either because it would give contractors under the contracts act real power to fight that acts oppressive antisocial foundations (with a definable law of contract the Ports of Auckland problem would have been solved ages ago but because there is no definable law, this ridiculous childish mess is allowed to go on forever). J Shipley was the biggest do do NZ ever had. Old school fool!
    A definable law of contract would once and for all establish a tight definable law that would apply to all legal contracts. All basic transactions need to be simply and legally covered with no need for court at all and in this backward country, they simply are not! One tight law of contract will stop all the sleazeballs in NZ and would cover online and offline sales, rents, IT sales house sales, it would define contractors responsibilities across NZ but as I said, if the contractors in NZ had a law like this, then the nine dead men in Pike River would actually have some legal rights. Oh no says donkey and bill, we could’nt have real law that works for kiwis, they wouldn’t know what to do with it and too many of our mates would end up in Prison. Bwahahahahahahahahaahahahaha. What a joke. Bwahahahahahaahahaha

  32. 32

    Try selling an iPhone on Trade Me, they make you jump through all sorts of hoops to prove you own it before they will accept the auction. Cars? Not so much it seems.

  33. @ Zinc

    “I can’t see why TradeMe, the Herald and anyone else who charges for advertising used cars can’t get the vehicle’s status checked and add it to the advertiser’s bill: that would cost them nothing and add greatly to their mana as responsible operators”.

    Yes it would cost them. It may drive away potential private advertisers and sellers, the majority of whom don’t sell vehicles with loan security still attached. Instead, these people will advertise/find buyers by other means.

    Now observe the law of unintended consequences…

    The sellers don’t absorb the cost – they pass it on to the buyers. And the buyers in this case are highly cost conscious. We know that because they are buying privately, rather than through the protections (and additional costs) that comes with purchasing through a LMVD.

    Not wanting this to be about political philosophy (although it does shape our perceptions and values), but I suspect the main reason Q and Liv got ripped off was because they were raised as good, decent people, with values of honesty and integrity. However, the world, as much as we would like it to be so just isn’t always that way. And sometimes the best way to guard against dishonesty is by law, and regulation, and watch dogs. But sometimes it’s not, because that creates a lot of cumbersome bureaucracy and cost – especially when worthwhile bureaucracy and cost have been expended from the public purse via the PPSR.

    BE has been pretty clear, rightly in my opinion, that those who invested in finance companies and lost their money did so ultimately due to their own actions and judgements, and we, other tax payers shouldn’t have to reimburse that loss. Q and Liv, albeit presumably at the other end of the financial scale, took a risk to shave the cost off a second-hand car. A very human mistake, and part of the same social and human reasoning process. They have my sympathy – but please – don’t try and load me and others with the costs.

    BE: Not entirely clear how Q and Liv could be lumbering you with the costs of anything. I will be looking to get their money back either from a direct approach to ‘erkan’ and Jon Laszlo Horvath or by taking ‘erkan’ to court.

  34. Oh dear there are some unpleasant, smug individuals out there. Most people like your family are trusting and because of that trust get ripped off.

    What is the point of adding to their pain with some smart arse comment?

    Sympathy is cheap, Brian, but for what it is worth I feel your pain. I know how I would feel had this happened to one of my children. I think the word I need is ‘empathy’.

    On a practical note there are 30 plus contributors on this blog. A contribution of about $200 bucks each would clear this depbt. Anyone interested and if you Brian are prepared to accept the offer my cheque will follow?

    BE: Thanks for that, Ben, and for your generous suggestion. However, I think Judy and I can sort things out. My priority is to get the kids’ money back from ‘erkan’ or Horvath or both. The cops should also have an interest in ‘erkan’ who is breaking the law as an unregistered car dealer.

  35. You are quite right Brian. On reflection I see that my comment was unnecessarily hurtful and I apologise.

    BE: And mine was unnecessarily severe. Pax!

  36. “Not entirely clear how Q and Liv could be lumbering you with the costs of anything”.

    Was said in the context of the general desire to regulate and expect checks by services like Car Mart and Trade Me (in addition to the existing PPSR website), which would push up prices for all consumers. But as you said to Sarah Koman- “Pax”, “Shalom”, and “Salaam”!

    …but not to Paul Mack.

    If you really think that a correctly drafted law “will stop all the sleazeballs in NZ” such that there was “no need for court at all”, and it is all a great big Tory conspiracy,…

    then you deserve contempt for trying to make cheap political capital out of Q and Liv’s loss,

    disdain for your chosen ignorance in thinking human nature can be regulated so,…

    and banishment to the nether-regions where other well-meaning but meddlesome legalistic Utopian dreamers like Geoffrey Palmer deserve to reside.

  37. Hi Brian, If you take ‘erkan’ to the Disputes Tribunal, Trade Me will provide you with his name & address. Check their procedure as I recall having to go to the local court or a JP to sign something before they would do so. Good luck.

    BE: Thanks Marj.

  38. Is AutoCheck still in existence?

  39. I’ve just bought my fifth vehicle via TM and (finders crossed) haven’t been ripped off yet. Although I helped to found a group which assists victims of TradeMe scams I’ve never bothered to check whether there was money owing on any of the vehicles. It’s not something most people think about doing. Mind you, I’m not bad at checking feedback and sussing out some of the lowlifes who inhabit TM.

    TradeMe will provide you with all of the details they hold about the seller – but you need to ask nicely through a lawyer. This sort of info is required for any Disputes Tribunal claim and you’d be surprised how much info TM actually hold on everyone. This includes any bank details or credit card this guy has used to credit his TM account and the IP addresses he’s used to login to TM (the Police can trace this through ISPs).

    Did you kids pay the entire amount in cash? Paying even a small deposit into a bank account does help to make the seller more traceable.

    Step 1 – get a lawyer to request the seller’s details from TM.

    Step 2 – talk to a friendly policeman. This was a deliberate fraud and there are thousands of dollars involved so a Police complaint would be justified.

    And if those steps don’t produce results, have a word to the people at Fair Go and I’ll bet more than one kind viewer will provide some handy info about Horvath in no time. ;-)

    Good luck… and I’ll follow this thread with interest.

    BE: Thanks for this helpful comment, Alfie. We now know the name of the debtor and his address and phone number. There’s some confusion about who ‘erkan’ is. When we rang the cellphone number which appears in Trade Me, we spoke to one Anil Ozbal. It was Anil who met the kids when they went to pick up the car last year. He said it was his brother who was selling the car on Trade Me and he took the $3,600 which he said he would give to his brother. I’ve spoken to Anil today. He told me that his brother’s name was Onur Ozbal and that he was in Australia. He offered to get Onur to ring me. I spoke to Onur, but got nowhere. He says he is in Melbourne and won’t be back in New Zealand for 8 months. He and Anil both say that they have no responsibility for Q and Liv losing the car, because they didn’t know there was money owing on it. (Ignorantia legis neminem excusat.) In a second conversation, Anil told me that his brother Onur was not ‘erkan'; ‘erkan’ was a friend of his. When I asked for his friend’s second name, he said he didn’t know. Our options now are to sue Jon Laszlo Horvath and/or ‘erkan ‘whose real identity we are currently not sure of. We may need to lay a complaint with the police in order to get that information from Trade Me.

  40. Caveat emptor.
    Caveat emptor.

    BE: Young people make mistakes! Young people make mistakes! YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES!

  41. One more thought… did your kids complete the change of ownership? If they did then why has it taken six months for the repo people to get involved? I’d hold onto the vehicle and tell the repo man that he can’t seize it as it’s the subject of a Police complaint. And do file a Police complaint asap.

    BE: Too late for that, Alfie. The car was repossessed this morning. Our advice was that, since Erkan is not a registered car dealer, Pacific Dawn were entitled to take the car. They can’t sell the car for 3 weeks, so we still have time to come up with a solution.

  42. Hi Brian. I was very sorry to hear about your family losing their car 8 months after buying it because there was money owing.

    The Privacy Act restricts Trade Me from releasing the details of the seller to the buyer, but the Act does allow us to release it to the seller’s lawyer or Police. Alternatively if your son wishes to file a dispute with the Disputes Tribunal, then they can provide a DT info request form which frees us from this restriction.

    We’ve investigated the automated PPSR option before but it doesn’t provide a guarantee no money is owing on a vehicle. In addition it’s only accurate at the point in time it’s provided. So a person could list a car up for sale and the security check would come through as clear, but the seller could then later on take a loan against it.

    For this reason we advise buyers at multiple stages during the buying process to check for ownership history, odometer readings and securities owing (and in particular after the auction has closed). This includes automated buttons on the car listing itself.

    However that’s little comfort for your son and his family right now. If they want to take action against the seller then we have a team who are able to help them. Please tell him to email them at


    Mike O’Donnell, Trade Me.

  43. @ Kimbo – valid point of course: but TM has the power to go to the credit checkers with a deal such as “OK – we’ll make ALL our used vehicle listers have a credit check as part of the listing fee: we do 5000 a month, and they’ll be done on our account through this office, but we want them for $5 a kick.”

    They can then charge the lister $10 a time and even if it DOES get passed on to the purchaser – $10 extra’s not going to stop anyone buying a car, is it?

    I don’t mind kids learning lessons about life the hard way, but should it have to cost them $3600 a throw?

  44. @ Zinc

    “I don’t mind kids learning lessons about life the hard way, but should it have to cost them $3600 a throw?”

    Probably not. But it is not just young people. The older folks who lost their money in 2nd tier finance companies weren’t all greedy – they were looking in some cases at returns of about 10%.

    Whatever regulations or safe-guards, I think Brian Gaynor’s advice, given before the collapse of the Blue Chips, etc applies – New Zealanders need to collectively lift themselves from their financial naivety and illiteracy, and that is the best safeguard against people losing much more than $3600 a pop.

    The day we grow out of making financial investments based on personalities such as Sir Douglas Graham, Richard Long, or Colin Meads (none of whom had any specialist expertise in finance), the better we will be.

    I’m sure with their ghastly experience in mind, and despite the present pain, Q and Liv will prosper later in life when others are losing their shirts.

  45. Kimbo, I think it is a stretch to equate buying a car with the investment markets. Sure financial naivety and illiteracy is a problem and there are any number of sad cases where people made unwise investments.

    But this case is quite different. It’s a routine consumer product purchase. I believe more cars are sold this way than any other now. Why should there be a massive hidden trap that can routinely claim honest victims that have done nothing wrong? Why should the honest have to jump through extra hoops to protect themselves whilst the law protects the dishonest? Would you create law that works this way if you were designing the system from scratch?

    I agree with BE. When the law is an ass it should be changed.

  46. WAKE UP:
    Caveat emptor.
    Caveat emptor.

    BE: Young people make mistakes! Young people make mistakes! YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES!
    WAKE UP: a young adult (but nevertheless still an adult) buying a car without checking details and condition first is not a “mistake”, it’s just plain silly – I know, I did it when young too.

  47. 47

    I agree Trademe has an obligation to do more to protect the naive and unwary from predators like this.

    It would be a simple matter to automate a process at the end of an auction that required the seller to fund a Motorweb report and forwarded it to the buyer before the purchase is confirmed.

    At the very least, the car buyer should get a message emphasizing the need for caution and checks because of these risks. If Trademe won’t do these things voluntarily they should be compelled.

    Although the buyers might be “silly”, these sellers are criminal fraudsters who should be caught and their rackets stopped before they cause others harm.

  48. @ Bill Forster

    “Why should there be a massive hidden trap that can routinely claim honest victims that have done nothing wrong?”

    Because it is not unhidden. For $2 anyone can check out the PPSR

  49. Mike O’Donnell from trade me notes, that even with PPSR, there is no guarantee that the car has no outstanding debt.Its not only trade me ,this can occur at any private sales point.

  50. @ Bill Forster

    “Why should there be a massive hidden trap that can routinely claim honest victims that have done nothing wrong?”

    Because it is not unhidden. For $2 anyone can check out the PPSR

    The trap’s certainly hidden, Kimbo. It’s the solution which isn’t.

    As far as I’m aware in Aussie any ad carries the car’s rego number. I guess that would help.

  51. What I think about is all the kids who don’t have angry and knowledgeable parents who have the ability to get some justice.

    Think what would happen to the poor kid in South Auckland who bought the car with a loan from a “loan shop” in order to get to his new job. The car gets re-possessed, he looses his job because he can’t get to work on time (he starts at 6am and the earlies public transport from his house is 6:15am) and then has no way of paying back the loan which balloons under triple digit yearly interest. He doesn’t know the law, doesn’t even know that legal advice would be useful in his case and in the end just has to accept what happened to him as the way things are.

  52. @ pjr & Zinc

    No, the PPSR on its own does not guarantee – but it is a start, and a valuable tool towards ascertaining the likely situation. And as Zinc quite rightly points out when correcting my lack of precision, it helps give a solution in the identification of hidden traps.

  53. The pedant in me finds Kimbo’s argument not unwrong. If the trap is not unhidden, then it is in fact hidden as I claimed :-)

  54. 54

    mpledger, well said. Exactly right.

  55. Caveat emptor.
    Caveat emptor.

    BE: Young people make mistakes! Young people make mistakes! YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES!

    Really ..just the young then ??

  56. @ Bill Forster

    …and the pedant in me salutes a fellow-traveller!

  57. This is fraud nothing less. Report it to the Police. If they fob you off go to the area Commander.
    The Police can get the info from Trademe and follow it up from there.

    Persue the case and make sure that the villian is prosecuted.

    BE: That is our intention, thanks, Bushbaptist.

  58. Oh, and one more thing Brian: name and shame. Throw these idiots’ info to the four winds, let everyone know who they are – because as many here suspect, they are likely doing this on a regular basis. IRD might like to have a look at them, and the IMVDA too…

  59. All of the talk here about caveat emptor is utter rubbish. The principle’s got nothing to do with when fraud or some other form of misrepresentation’s involved. As you’ve already been made aware, a combination of the police and the Disputes Tribunal will eventually provide resolution. Sure, it may be a bit messy determining who exactly is liable etc, but it sounds like you’ve got enough information to find that out. Just keep going.

  60. There is a broader point to be made here BTW, and that is – immigration has changed the atmosphere and structure of weekend secondhand car markets.

    They used to be happy, family-oriented, sausage-sizzly, casual, pleasurable affairs where English was a first language, everybody understood everybody, and trust was in the air.

    Now it’s almost the exact opposite; they are plagued with people one should NOT trust as a first port of call, and full of misrepresentation, dealers etc, like a middle-Eastern bazaar…

    BE: Sadly, if our experience is anything to go by, that may well be true.

  61. I can relate to WAKE UP – I sold my daughter’s Civic at Ellerslie a few years ago to the head of a a prominent secondary school – buying for his son. By chance, a couple of years later the car was back there for sale by a most unsavoury-looking gentleman who (in pidgin English) claimed to be a great friend of the school principal. I’d’ve been less surprised if he’d been selling AK47s.

    Please let us know how this pans out Brian – we’re all keen to see a good outcome, now.

  62. when we buy or sell on trade me – which is quite often – we check the seller or bidder’s trade me “profile” as included on the site.
    we recently sold our car and the top bidder had a dreadful “history”- comments made about him were clear- don’t deal with him . we removed him as top bidder and then he came in on someone else’s log in but was bidding under the same name. we removed him again then he phoned up to demand why we removed him and my husband said he had a bad history. the guy, my husbandsaid the guy was difficult to understand as he had a strong foreign accent.( middle eastern?) the guy was unhappy but he had done many dud deals on trade me and had a really bad history.
    we have had disappointment(minor in comparison to you and yours)with a couple of past deals.
    so – checking their profile may also help prevent grief.

  63. I have some suggestions for TradeMe to consider, based on my recent experience of shopping for a car on their website.

    1. Include in the listing fee, payable by the vendor, the relevant report from carjam or similar detailing the ownership history, servicing, and whether any finance is owing. I paid $13 for this online and had it within minutes. It included the mileage at each service interval which helps to confirm if the mileage is genuine, and a lot of other useful information. I didn’t end up buying the car so the report was wasted and there may have been a number of other interested parties that did the same thing. If the vendor pays for this up front, it only needs to be done once and everybody knows the car is “kosher”.

    2. Offer a “deluxe” option for the vendor to pay for an AA (or similar) mechanical report. These cost around $200 and I think are essential before making an offer to buy any vehicle. Again the problem is that several interested parties may want to do this, and the AA gets paid each time. The AA won’t supply the report to anyone else at present, as their client is the first prospective purchaser. Any other purchasers have to pay the fee as well, which seems wasteful.

    TradeMe have different categories of listings already and this would be a good opportunity for the vendor to show they have nothing to hide. It would weed out the erkans of the world in very good time. There’s enough good quality used cars around to choose from without having to deal with the sharks. Good luck to your family.

  64. WOW! I have always checked to make sure the car has not been written off but never even thought about checking to see if finance was owed. Crazy.

  65. 65

    For future reference for anyone interested.
    Text car rego or vin to FIND cost $1.02 reply text within 30 seconds stating if there is a security interest on that vehicle.
    Sometimes you may get a message back saying there appears to be an interest but this could be because the interested party haven’t notified the PPSR that the debt was paid – I have seen this happen. It’s free to get a user ID with the PPSR so that you can access the register using a code from their text and ALL the details are there including contact details for the party with the interest. Hope this helps someone in the future.

  66. I don’t think it fair to judge a younge couple like this they don’t have the experience to know what they should do in this case. The law should be changed so the seller must front up to an office to get a verification to sell, then this sort of thing wouldn’t happen don’t you think?

  67. I got ripped off $7,000. Not on trade me but chap tried to re-sell car I purchased on trade me, trade me did nothing. I believe police finally acted to shut this bankrupt illegal trader down using someone else name. Now he is listed again on trade me.Yes I was stupid to trust anyone but felt really ill after a trip to christchurch. Basically these people are stealing from you and its not the fault of the inocent victim, it is the law that is failing. Buying and selling comes to a point of hand over the cash and if seller does a runner you can do little without a gun pointing at the person taking the money, not a good way to deal with private selling. better the law is more on the ball and trade me to prevent and ban theives and cheats. This guy will already have another trade me account.

    I would sooner live in a world where you trust people and have faith in the system, yes stupid, but better than other options.Its not your families fault do not allow others to point the blame in your direction.

  68. In November 2009 our 16 yr old son saw an Audi 2001 on trade me. The accountant selling it Shafkat Mahbub said he needed to sell to pay for his wedding . After a check we realised there was $19,000 owing on it. We then contacted Shafkat who said he would borrow the money and repay ASB . A letter on a ASB letterhead was faxed to us with a contact DD of the ASB clerk to contact. We rang and the woman said correct the loan had been repaid so he drove the car away. With his fathers help he paid 10,995.00.Then in April 2011 a repossession company came to take the car unless we paid the debt. Shafkat Mahbub now has a Dhaka office called Edecobd in Bangladesh promoting himself as an accountant who arranges study at NZ universities. One firm he gave here in Auckland had never heard of him. I spoke to him on the phone and he acknowledges the debt owed at the time of sale however told me he lives in Bangladesh now and to leave him alone! He is a fraudster and until he once again lives in NZ I just have to wait for Karma.

    BE: Thanks for that Sue. We’re still trying to get either the car or the kids’ money back. Trade Me has been less than helpful in terms of demonstrating that the guy who sold the car to them is actually an unregistered trader which is illegal.The Privacy Act seems designed to protect the guilty rather than the innocent.

  69. It’s all very well saying that this couple should have had a check done, but for young families money is often tight and they’ve put all their available cash into the actual purchase.

    Don’t criticise them. They were honest and kept their part of the bargain. Save your criticism for the scum like this seller who lack similar honesty and integrity and happily rip off people in this manner. They’re the guilty party here, the lowlife, filthy scum.

  70. It’s an absolute scandal that Trade Me lets dishonest traders get away with this. There should be safeguards in place for users.

    It’s made enough money out of those users, after all. Trade Me recently was valued at between $1 billion and $1.5 billion!

    How about ploughing a tiny, tiny portion of their huge profits into ensuring honest people like this family are protected from all the sharks out there?

    Trade Me is owned by Fairfax Media, which also owns the Dominion Post, The Press and, to name just a few of its media operations in this country. It also owns numerous news outlets across the Tasman.

    I think the family should take its case to a rival media operation, such as APN’s NZ Herald, reveal what’s happened to them and suggest that with its squillions from Trade Me, Fairfax should pay back them back for failing to protect them, or its other users for that matter.

    (Incidentally, you’d imagine an APN newspaper would be only too happy to cast its rival, Fairfax, in a bad light over this sorry business.)

    If such a story fails to shame Fairfax/Trade into showing a shred of decency over the matter, perhaps some kind-hearted motor dealer will see the story and give the kids a car.

    It’s worth a go, for despite all the conmen around there are some decent people out there too.

    Good luck, I hope it works out for them.

  71. The problem with Trademe and these other auction sites is that they are faceless, people don’t think they’re dealing with real people. I found articles on interesting as they talk about the downfall of these auction sites worldwide.

  72. This is sad to read, there are ways that websites can help, if they bother too. The registration page that was used to sign up is available, also the ip address could/should be recorded also. I have a couple of sites I run and while not in the same usage numbers as trademe, I respond to comments or ideas given.
    I have read most of what people have said here and have actioned some on my NZ site to help people in this situation.
    I hope your kids get some sort of satisfaction in the end.

    BE: Thanks Dave.

  73. It’s incredulous that Trade Me readily accept listings fees and success fees yet offer “members” no protection whatsoever when they are the victims of foul play.

    eBay charge less than Trade Me yet fully protect buyers from unscrupulous sellers. They will go into the sellers bank account and withdraw the funds needed to refund the victim. They will also close down the offenders account membership.

    Trade Me abdicate ALL responsibility by doing two things. The first is to inform the victim they don’t get involved in “disputes” and secondly they advise victims to take up a personal claim against the offender in the small claims court.

    I’ve told Trade Me they would not feed out that TOTALLY WORTHLESS advice if they had experienced that avenue themselves and understood just how futile the process is. My mail is that Trade Me management is FULLY aware just how worthless their advice is. Fact is that advice is free and that is the ONLY reason they placate victims with it.

    I as a (Top Seller)rejected Trade Me’s offer for shares last year as I feel they are failing with a basic business responsibility to members and the reason they are failing is because they can get away with it.