QLD Bought Lemon Car from Used Car Dealership - Australian Consumer Law?

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27 December 2015
I have bought a second-hand car for $4,000 from a used car dealership. It is a 2002 forester and only 67 km from leaving the yard, I started having trouble with overheating. I had the car towed back to get the thermostat replaced but at roughly the same length of the trip home, the same issue occurred.

I believe the fault is the head gasket which is a serious condition costing $1,000's of dollars and relatively easy to test so should have shown up in the roadworthy which they had done at the mechanic workshop beneath the car yard. They have replaced the radiator cap and a radiator hose pin before I bought the car as these things are clearly brand new.

Given that they have replaced these parts before I had told them about the heating problems shows that they were already aware of this problem and still tried to sell the car knowing that there was a fault with the lemon car, putting myself and other motorist's lives in danger.

From my understanding of Australian consumer law, this does not meet the consumer guarantee of lasting a reasonable amount of time. The car had problems just 67 km from the dealership.

I look forward to any and all thoughts on this matter.


Well-Known Member
2 October 2015
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Hi Butcher667,

Usually used vehicle dealerships provide a 3 month warranty on their vehicles. Was there anything like that provided or mentioned by the dealership?

If not, dealers are still bound to guarantee that their vehicles are of acceptable quality. If there is a major failure to do this - i.e. if the vehicle is of such poor quality a reasonable person in your position would not have purchased the vehicle had they known of the extent of the mechanical problems - you are entitled to request either a refund or compensation for the difference in value.

I would write to the dealership, detailing the issues you have had since purchase including proof of these issues (mechanic's reports receipts etc), then setting out your rights under the Australian Consumer Law and request that they take back the vehicle for a full refund. You can also cc: the Dept of Fair Trading.