"Lemon laws" for faulty cars a step closer

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 16:58
ThreadID: 135379 Views:3100 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
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It's refreshing to see that the ACCC is moving to initiate wide-ranging changes that could see "Lemon laws" for fault-prone new vehicles, introduced.

The regulator has released a sweeping 162-page Draft Report, on the New Car Retailing industry - and says it's deeply concerned about the (poor) level of compliance by car manufacturers in Australia, as regards Australian Consumer Law.

For way too long, vehicle manufacturers and their dealers have run roughshod over new car buyers.

Lies about emission levels - lies about fuel economy - brush-offs when it came to serious complaints about unsatisfactory performance, and levels of build quality - failure to carry about repairs properly - and just plain stonewalling of unhappy new car owners who have had legitimate complaints, have become all-too-common.

Making vehicle owners sign non-disclosure agreements when it came to vehicle warranty repairs, have been one of the sleaziest tactics initiated by the manufacturers and dealers - and these agreements have been found to be illegal, and in contravention of ACL.

"Gag" orders were usually attached to the above agreements, to try and suppress any discussion of the problem or problems with a vehicle, by aggrieved owners. This has also been deemed illegal.

Statements by manufacturers and dealers, that out-of-warranty repairs - and even, warranty repairs - would only be done as a "goodwill gesture", were also found to be illegal and against ACL.

What amazes me about these manufacturers and dealers, is that they are nearly always prepared to "patch up" faults, with sub-standard fixes - yet if you damage a vehicle in a crash, it can be written off with only minor damage to the vehicle.

In addition, most components from a written-off vehicle (apart from basic components such as a long engine or a manual transmission) cannot be used in any other vehicle - as after a statutory write off, most components are then regarded as faulty, and possibly damaged, and therefore must be regarded as unsafe.

This is because so many components of todays vehicles have a safety angle attached to them.
Any compromise in the operation of any safety-related device in a registered road vehicle, is not allowed.

Yet, the manufacturers have been happy to "patch up" and repair new vehicles that contain serious faults, which is in complete contravention of the SWO laws.

The ACCC is seeking submissions on its report, with submissions due by Sept 7, 2017. The full report is due at years end.

If you have a current, and even a past complaint, as regards the performance of any new vehicle you have purchased - or a current or past complaint on the treatment you received as a complainant, regarding new vehicle problems you were seeking to have rectified - then I suggest you make a submission to the ACCC, and make your voice heard.

PerthNow - ACCC report damns car manufacturers

ACCC - New Car Retailing - market study

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 21:52

Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 21:52
Now, if we could just get the same for the caravan industry .....

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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 09:34

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 09:34
Took those words out of my mouth Frank. Van makers and their retailers from my experience are far worse than car makers.
Our own experience with about the biggest van retailer in Perth and it's Vic maker was disgraceful and only fixed by taking Consumer Affair and court action. Not costly as they had tp pay the expences but time consuming and un-necessary.
FollowupID: 883343

Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 21:52

Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 21:52
How good would this be.....not before time!!!!!
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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AnswerID: 612973

Reply By: Member - Jim B8 - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 05:10

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 05:10
I wonder if a certain multi national that makes vehicles with faulty brakes, and overheating transfer cases reads this page?
Fixing a problem on a later model is no fix for the people who purchased the problem. "You changed the radio station, so its modified" may no longer be the standard approach?
AnswerID: 612975

Reply By: Prydey - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 06:19

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 06:19
Ahhh, the ACCC - is there a more toothless tiger?
AnswerID: 612976

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 07:14

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 07:14

Here is where the ACCC stopped lemon sales in 2011.

New Lemon Laws 2011

This will be just another ineffective PR move by the ACCC to fend off the criticism.

They are completely useless.

FollowupID: 883339

Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 08:29

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 08:29
Some say, even the claws have been removed because they can't hang on to a task either. BUT they can growl.
FollowupID: 883340

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 08:54

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 08:54
Yes, I believe the EPA would be running neck and neck with them for the greatest "toothless tiger" award.
FollowupID: 883342

Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 11:08

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 11:08
The, "Everyone Pacified Authority".
FollowupID: 883349

Reply By: AlanTH - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 09:39

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 09:39
Government Depts. love making a little noise to satisfy the punters call for action.
But not too loud as they don't want to upset those who have the ear of the pollies who gave them the nice fat job in the first place.
Many vested interests out there with lobbying power and pollies are only self interested mostly.
Nothing must be allowed to tip the gravy train.
AnswerID: 612979

Reply By: William P - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:39

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:39
There is no doubt that the introduction of Lemon Laws would be great leap forward but so would simply enforcing current consumer laws would be a greater leap forward - for some reason the car industry seems to be immune from enforcement of current laws.
AnswerID: 612985

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 13:48

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 13:48
Spot on. We already have the ACL, it just need to be strengthened, so the balance of power is evened up, so that consumers don't have to fight tooth and nail at their own cost, just to get what is rightfully theirs.

The problem is simply one of timid politicians too scared to attack vehicle manufacturers, because the vehicle manufacturers wield so much power, it's frightening.

The manufacturers come out with attitudes, such as - "If you try to hobble us, we'll ensure that you don't get re-elected, by supporting campaigns against your re-election, and by stating that you have caused job losses with your anti-vehicle-manufacturer approach".

The bottom line is that the vehicle manufacturers now have very little investment in Australian manufacturing, so no real worry about job losses today!

We need more bloke such as Xenophon, a politician with gonads and someone who isn't frightened to tackle these global corporation thugs.

Cheers, Ron
FollowupID: 883352

Reply By: Joe R2 - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 18:06

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 18:06
This is because so many components of todays vehicles have a safety angle attached to them.
Any compromise in the operation of any safety-related device in a registered road vehicle, is not allowed.
joe root
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AnswerID: 612993

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 18:30

Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 18:30
That is true Joe, but would you call a chassis a safety related device? I certainly would because without one you're going nowhere with most vehicles.
Short tale here: Fellow club member was travelling in SA pulling his 8-9 year old "tough-as" off road van when he felt his vehicle do a strange wiggle.... looked in the mirror and all he could see was the underside of the van! Chassis had snapped right behind the box on the A frame.
He managed to stop OK as they were only going slow. Although van was several years old it'd never been subjected to what it's makers had claimed it could do off road.
Fellow traveller bodged up a splint for the chassis and they managed to crawlt to safety on a station I think.
Calls to his insurer got it flat bedded to safety for them even though it really didn't qualify as an accident under policy terms.
Calls to the maker got no worthwhile response except the usual parroted "1 year warranty' crap.
Retailer not interested.
Now here's the thing, club member went and bought another camper off the same retailer who'd shown no interest at all and with whom he knew we'd had big problems with.
Picks up the brand new real tough off road camper and got it home 30 kay away and one of the wheels showed signs of coming off.
Retailers response..... "You must have abused it".
I wonder if the ACCC will have the balls to really get stuck in to the van industry, all sides of it?
Methinks not personally.

FollowupID: 883355

Reply By: Batt's - Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 at 10:01

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 at 10:01
I believe this has been part of the motoring industry in the USA for around 40yrs and I heard people talking about it myself included since I started driving in the early 80's so it's been a long time coming with much resistance. It's pretty pathetic that nothing has been put in place before now to protect buyers that purchase and kind of vehicles, trailers, vans etc. They don't seem to understand or actually don't give a rats once you drive off their lot but have the audacity to whinge when new cars sales drop.
It will still be a long time coming because after it's arrival has been announced then each state will probably have the right to introduce their own version of what the customer is entitled to so they can drag it out for longer. In the USA the laws can vary state by state.
AnswerID: 613109

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