Auditing motor vehicle dealers

Consignment trust accounts

Before taking any vehicle under a consignment agreement, the dealer must be permitted to do so in accordance with their licence and have opened a 'Consignment Trust Account' in which to deposit the funds.

Licence

Dealers must obtain the Commissioner’s approval to remove this condition using the remove consignment sales condition form.

Trust accounts

The dealer must ensure that the name of the trust account includes:

  • the full name of the dealer;
  • the dealer's licence number;
  • the trading name (if any); and
  • the words 'consignment trust account'.

When a dealer opens or closes a trust account, the Commissioner for Consumer Protection must be informed as soon as practicable in writing specifying:

  • the name and number of the trust account; and
  • the name and address of the financial institution with which the trust account is or was maintained.

Consignment trust account & auditor form

Payments into and out of consignment trust accounts

  • All funds from the sale of a consignment vehicle must be paid into the trust account.
  • If the vehicle is sold on consignment and the dealer accepts a trade-in vehicle as part payment (consideration), the dealer must deposit in the trust account an amount equal to the trade-in value of the vehicle.
  • If the trade-in value is greater than the amount owed to the consignor or owner of the vehicle, the dealer may deduct the money owed to the purchaser from the trade in-value deposited.
  • Payment of the money into the trust account must be made within one business day of receipt.
  • Payment to the person consigning the vehicle (the owner) must be made within two business days of receiving payment.
  • A dealer's commission must be authorised in writing and must be paid from the trust account. This is shown at Condition 3 of the consignment agreement.
  • Only monies relating to consignment transactions can be deposited or withdrawn from a trust account. Bank fees and charges for operating the trust account must be paid from a dealer's general account.

Auditing and reporting on trust accounts

  • A dealer must ensure that a record is kept relating to a trust account. The record must be in writing, maintained for not less than six years from the date on which the money was received and be made readily accessible.
  • Financial institutions must notify the Commissioner for Consumer Protection when any trust account is overdrawn.
  • A dealer who maintains a consignment trust account/s and has held or received any money in relation to a consignment sale, must have its trust account/s audited "every financial year".
  • The audit report is required to be submitted to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection (Commissioner) within 3 months of the end of that year, "30 September".
  • Alternatively, if the dealer has not held or received any money in relation to a consignment trust account, he/she may submit a statutory declaration to that effect for the consignment trust account for that audit period.
  • The Commissioner for Consumer Protection may order a special audit of trust accounts at any time where deficiencies or mismanagement are suspected. The cost of this audit will be at the dealer's expense.

Appointment of auditor

If you are motor vehicle dealer and have opened a trust account, please email us with details of your auditor and attach a completed Application to Appoint an Auditor form.

Change of auditor

An auditor's appointment is continuous until Consumer Protection approves a change to the auditor (under Regulation 10H(2) of the Motor Vehicle Dealer (Sales) Regulations 1974).  To request approval, complete the change of auditor form and email to us.

Further information

Publications

Motor vehicle dealers consignment trust accounts – guidelines for auditors

Legislation

Enquiries

Should you require any further information on these matters, please ring our registration and monitoring branch on 1300 304 054.

 

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