WA Failure of Vehicle - Bad Luck?

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24 July 2014
My five-year-old vehicle had a major mechanical failure on the 16th day past the expiry of the manufacturer's new car warranty. Is 'bad luck' a valid explanation by the manufacturer to avoid any obligation under Australian Consumer law?

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Meg,

Under the ACL, there are statutory guarantees that are separate and distinct from manufacturer/seller warranties. These guarantees are mandatory at law and are imposed on goods purchased after 2011. Given that your vehicle is 5 years old, it would not come under the ACL, rather, products purchased before January 2011 will be governed by the Trade Practices Act 1987 ("TPA"). There are similar statutory guarantees, known as implied warranties, under the TPA but they are less favourable to consumers.

One important difference is that under the ACL there is a "durability" guarantee. This is a new requirement that is not implied under the TPA. Whilst "bad luck" is never a good excuse, there is not much you can do to force the manufacturer/company to fix your car free of charge.

You can read more about the warranties below:
- Warranties in general: http://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/warranties
- Warranties for products bought prior to 2011: http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/warranties-refunds-a-guide-for-consumers-and-business
- Statutory guarantees under ACL: http://www.accc.gov.au/business/treating-customers-fairly/consumers-rights-obligations

I suggest you contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and enquire about the merits of your claim: https://www.accc.gov.au/contact-us. The ACCC may even assist you in resolving your dispute against your seller through free alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.