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Standard fact sheet.

Motor dealer licensing 

This information is prepared to assist those working in the motor dealer industry. It is a guide only and not a substitute for legal advice. If you are unsure of your obligations you should refer to the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013, the Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation 2014 or seek legal advice.

Motor dealer licence 

Where previously there were six motor dealer licences, under the Motor Dealer and Repairers Act 2013 there is a single motor dealer’s licence.

A motor dealer’s licence is required to run a business that involves buying, selling or exchanging motor vehicles. Motor vehicles include cars, trailers, motorcycles, and caravans.

A motor dealer’s licence allows the holder to also sell vehicles by wholesale. This involves buying, selling or exchanging motor vehicles with financiers and other licence holders. Wholesalers may purchase vehicles from the public but cannot sell direct or through auction to the general public.

Activities relating to auto-dismantling and part reconstructing are no longer licensed under a motor dealer’s licence. These activities are now licensed under the Motor Vehicle Recycler’s licence. Licences for motor vehicle consultants and car market operators are no longer required.

A motor dealer’s licence is also not required for dealing in certain types of vehicles including:

  • vehicles not acquired for the transport of goods or passengers on public roads (e.g. agricultural equipment)
  • vehicles with a mass over 4.5 tonnes (i.e. those covered by the Heavy Vehicle National Law)
  • vehicles that are not capable of being registered in NSW (e.g. quad bikes, segways, motorised wheelchairs and battery powered bikes).

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Trailer and caravan dealers 

If you are in the business of buying, selling or exchanging trailers or towable recreational vehicles you are required to be licensed under the Motor Dealer and Repairers Act 2013 and Motor Dealer and Repairers Regulation 2014.

Under the Act and Regulation a trailer is a vehicle built to be towed by a motor vehicle and is not capable of being propelled on roads without being towed.  This does not include a trailer with a tare weight of 250 kilograms or less.

A towable recreation vehicle is a trailer with a living and/or sleeping space and includes a caravan, fifth wheeler, pop-top caravan, camper trailer or tent trailer.

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How to get a licence 

An application must be lodged with Service NSW or NSW Fair Trading. To be granted a licence, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • be a fit and proper person
  • not be a disqualified from holding a licence
  • not be bankrupt
  • have approval from the relevant local council
  • not been found guilty within the past 10 years of stealing a motor vehicle
  • have sufficient financial resources to carry on the business.

You can obtain an application form and further information from NSW Fair Trading by calling 13 32 20 or the Australian Business Licence Information Service (ABLIS) website, ablis.business.gov.au.

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Advertising requirements 

Licensed motor dealers must publish their licence name, and the words licence number (or similar abbreviation) followed by their licence number in promotional material so that consumers know who they are dealing with. The requirement covers any advertising that promotes a specific place or places of business for which the licence is granted.

This includes any advertising where the licensee’s specific place of business is identified. For example, if a licensee advertises on TV and mentions their places of business, they would be required to display their licence details in the advertisement. This requirement does not apply where only products are advertised, such as when a franchisor advertises its brand or products on behalf of all franchisees.

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Signage requirements 

Licensed motor dealers will be required to display their licence name, and the words licence number (or similar abbreviation) followed by their licence number, on any sign they choose to erect at each place of business for which the licence is granted. Licence holders are free to choose signage so long as it includes the required particulars and is readily visible to anyone who approaches the place of business. Should they work from a vehicle, such as a mobile servicing vehicle, the licence name and number must be displayed on the side of the vehicle. Should the dealer choose not to erect signage, the licence name and number must still be displayed in the prominent place so as to be visible to any customers.

Offences 

Unlicensed motor dealing in NSW is an offence and can result in the issue of a penalty notice of $5,500 or prosecution with a maximum penalty of $110,000. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is $110,000 or imprisonment for 12 months, or both. A court may also order a person convicted of unlicensed motor dealing to forfeit any proceeds made from any vehicles sold.

It is also an offence in NSW to interfere with an odometer reading by either altering the reading, removing or replacing the odometer or rendering the odometer inoperative or inactive by any means. Odometer interference can result in prosecution with a maximum penalty of $22,000 and you may also be liable to pay the losses of a purchaser through civil action.

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