Please make On Road Costs (ORC) fair for buyers

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Dear Minister Dean,

A curious anomaly appears to exist in the market for new cars. As a potential buyer, when one goes on a test ride in a demonstrator vehicle, the vehicle is clean, the software, infotaintment system, and all the other features that the salesperson has alluded to work as they should, and the vehicle has the manufacturer’s branded carpet mats.

However, when the time comes to actually purchase the car, the potential buyer is informed that all of the above comes at an additional price ─ which s/he has to pay as part of the On Road Costs.

On further questioning, it is revealed that these are extra charges for professional grooming of the (new) vehicle, for a pre-delivery inspection and software setup, for the branded carpet mats, for a full tank of fuel, and for the vehicle’s licence, registration and WoF.

As far as the NZTA is concerned, a current vehicle licence, registration and WoF are all that are required for a vehicle to be legally driven on New Zealand roads. And yet, dealers impose additional charges on the buyer to ensure that a new vehicle s/he is purchasing looks new ─ and that the advertised features work as they should.

If you were to purchase a smart refrigerator, you wouldn’t expect the dealer to levy additional charges on you to ensure that your new refrigerator looks new ─ and that its software and features work as they should, would you?

Could you please use your office to ensure that On Road Costs are fair, that car dealers charge customers for only a current vehicle licence, registration and WoF on a cost-recovery basis ─ and not burden customers with extra charges for items that are expected of a new car in the first place?

Thanking you in anticipation,
Anand Kochunny


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