QLD 5-Year-Old Car Transmission Failed - My Rights Under Australian Consumer Law?

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25 May 2016
I own a 2011 Ford which I purchased used from a dealer. Recently the car's auto transmission was playing up and was causing a safety issue. I took it to my dealer for an inspection. They advised me there was a serious fault with the transmission and it would need to be replaced at a cost ~ $5,000. They said that as it was out of warranty that I would be liable for the repairs.

I brought up Australian Consumer Law but they said as the car was five years old and had done just over 100,000kms that they could not reasonably guarantee the component would last this long and would not be covered by Australian Consumer Law.

I'm wondering what my rights are under Australian Consumer Law, whether major mechanical components would be expected to last 5 years / 100k kms and what would be the likelihood of success if I was to pursue this through CSAT?



Hi Rusty83,

Whilst the Australian Consumer does set out guarantees that vehicles be fit for purpose and of acceptable quality and durability, the dealer does have a point that the car is 5 years old and has done over 100,000 km. Whether or not a 5-year-old car's transmission failing would be considered a failure of acceptable quality/durability would be a question of interpretation for the court. It will depend on the type of independent evidence that you can come up with and whether or not it was due in part to something that you did, like your style of driving or circumstantial issues.

I don't know of any case law which has dealt with this issue, but I will let you know if I stumble across something. If the cost of going to QCAT is not disproportionate to the cost of the repairs it may be worth trying? I would say your chances are 50:50 but I'm interested to hear other points of view.


5 June 2016
It is a hard one, as the law is not clear on what exactly is the time frame that "fit for purposes" covers. I did have a Samsung tablet that broke down after 3years - the warranty was for 2 years - consumer affairs Victoria said this was not acceptable.

I said this to office works and they gave me my money back - although I can't imagine this happening with a car, I think that because the perception is that we always waste money on cars then people just think it is ok for them to break down as is "normal".

I think something that costs that much money should not break within 5 years, but many would disagree.

Good luck!