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QLD Car Finance Working with Dodgey Dealership - Where Do I Stand?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Huxley, 14 September 2016.

  1. Huxley

    Huxley Member

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    A vehicle was financed. The car finance company had their staff set up at the dealership. The dealership first gave me the wrong vehicle all together (rwd petrol). Then they gave me the correct type (4x4 diesel), but it had mechanical & cosmetic problems ( flaked paint, oil leaks, dodgey suspension, etc).

    I advised them all the problems, which they said they would fix but never did and started ignoring my phone calls. I then had multiple mechanics look at the car and had to spend over $3000 on repairs to get it up to scratch, as two of the mechanics told me it wasn't even roadworthy. One of the mechanics asked where I got the car from as I told them I hadn't owned it for long, and when I told them, they straight away knew who it was and how dodgey they were.

    The dealership has mechanics on site and it turns out one of them was writing dodgey roadworthy certificates on vehicles that had been purchased at auctions or repairable write-offs and had been in trouble with transport main roads because of it. I went to confront the dealership in person, only to find that they had packed up and were no longer there.

    Because of the money I had to spend on repairs, I wasn't able to make the payments and I advised the finance company of the situation, which they didn't care about, even though they had their staff working out of the dealership. I then had more problems with the vehicle and had to spend more money.

    I ended up selling it out of frustration and telling the car finance company to get lost, as they wouldn't assist me in finding where the dealer had gone and were involved with it. I suspect they know about how dodgey it is as their staff worked at the dealer. Now they are threatening to report the car as stolen if I don't comply and make payments or give back the car which I no longer have.

    So my question is, where do I stand with this situation and is what I've done a criminal act or civil matter?

    I told the finance company that they can take it up with the dealership for money owed as it's their fault in the first place. I want to take action against both the dealer and finance company but don't know how to go about it.
     
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    First step is to try to find the dealer. You can't really assert any wrong doing on the part of the finance company (which I assume is a completely different business) - being in kahoots with a dodgy business isn't an act that attracts civil liability on its own. Therefore your contract with them stands and they can pursue you for anything owing on your loan to them, you can't simply say its the dealer's fault I can't pay pursue them, because their contract is with YOU.

    So your only option really is to go after the dealer for consumer law breaches. First - find them. See who the name on the invoice is. If its a business you may be able to get details via ASIC? not sure. If its a company you should be able to get registered office from an ASIC search. Once you have found them I would send them a letter of demand for the amount that you have lost as a result of purchasing the vehicle (calculate the total out of pocket to you). And state that if they don't pay it to you by X date then you will take things further to the Dept of Fair Trading or ACCC and/or institute proceedings in QCAT for the money.

    As far as I can determine, if they issued the vehicle to you with a false roadworthy certificate (provided their mechanics are same business - not another business) this is misleading and deceptive conduct. They are also required to warrant that vehicles they sell are of acceptable quality - having regard to the age and style of vehicle.

    If a second-hand car is sold by a licensed motor dealer it must be roadworthy at the time of sale. The consumer must also be provided with a Safety Inspection Report. If the car is not roadworthy at the time of sale, the court can make orders for the dealer to refund the full purchase price of the vehicle and associated costs. Obviously since the car has been disposed of you would get back the difference - being what you are out of pocket.

    Faulty Second Hand Car? Your Options as a Buyer - Legal Blog - LawAnswers.com.au
     

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