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VIC Bought Faulty Car - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by nate, 12 April 2016.

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  1. nate

    nate Member

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    So I bought a dual fuel van on the 9th Feb 2016. A couple of days later, signs of problems start to show. Engine light is on. I advised the dealer. The mechanic turned the engine light off which was unhelpful as all he said was the gas was running lean and to just ignore it and he moved on to next customer. The light came back on days later. Been with that for 3-4weeks and the whole time, I could smell LPG and terrible fuel economy.

    Short story, the gas leak is bad hissing and emptying the gas cylinder quickly, getting partly into the cabin. It stalls when idling, it has stalled when driving at speed on a freeway and also going through an intersection. There are dangerous number of things to go wrong.

    Other problems include LPG in the air conditioning system instead of proper AC gas, exhaust manifold leak, drive belt requires replacing, 2 idler pulleys, wheels out of alignment, gas system is due soon for 10-year inspection, gas service required. Rust has been discovered throughout, which is not apparent until removing a cover.

    I discovered the van belonged to a pool servicing company so it makes sense as pool chlorine can spill and also the fumes from it can evaporate, cause humidity and create rust in roof cavity, where it has spread throughout.

    It is obvious that they turned the engine light off before selling it to me and they knew of the other problems as they lied when I asked some pretty specific questions in relation to belt and aircon.

    Spoke to ACCC. They gave some advice but it was just talk with no real solution to issue. I have contacted the dealer and he said that their warranty only covers the engine. I discussed this, pointing out the gas converter is part of the engines as it attaches to it through hoses. They refused to accept the 12-month warranty and does not listen. RWC is over 30 days now.

    The van has done 190 000 kms, I bought it Feb 9th this year with 188 000 kms.
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi nate,

    There are a few legal issues here some of which may get you somewhere some which will not.

    Firstly, the Australian Consumer Law will probably not help you out in this case. As you probably know the Australian consumer law requires that used car dealers like any other retailer guarantee certain things about their products. This includes a guarantee that the vehicles they sell are of acceptable quality. However the test of whether a vehicle is of acceptable quality takes into account:

    > the nature of the motor vehicle - for instance, a new car would be expected to last longer than a used car
    > representations made about the vehicle in advertising
    > anything the dealer told the consumer about the vehicle before purchase, and
    > any other relevant facts, such as the way the consumer has driven or used the vehicle.

    In addition, the guarantee of acceptable quality will not apply if the dealer tells the consumer about a particular defect in the vehicle before purchase or the consumer examines the vehicle before buying it and should have noticed that it was not of acceptable quality (although that would not apply to hidden defects that are difficult to detect such as engine, brake or gearbox faults.

    In this case, provided the dealer did not provide misleading answers to specific questions about the defects in question, I have a feeling a court would determine that since the vehicle is old and hd 188,000 on the clock before you purchased it, it was reasonable to assume that there would be mechanical defects. It may also be arguable that you should have discovered the rust on prior examination - depending on how difficult it is to identify.

    However, on the other hand if they did provide misleading information, answer questions incorrectly or intentionally turned off the engine light in order to hide defects then you may have grounds for misleading and deceptive conduct.

    I would contact your state Consumer Affairs VIC, and see what they can do for you. This is some good info on the ACL too: https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Motor vehicle sales & repairs - an industry guide to the Austalian Consumer Law.pdf
     
  3. nate

    nate Member

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    Thank you so much for your help.
     

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