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WA Getting Refund from Volkswagen for Faulty Car?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Gilly, 2 September 2016.

  1. Gilly

    Gilly Member

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    Last year, we purchased a used car from a Volkswagen dealership. The car was 6 years old 2.0 Golf GTi with TSI engine. We paid $24,000 and it came with full Volkswagen service history, 100 point Volkswagen check and an Auto Assist Warranty.

    After 14 months, my partner drove the car to work. When he came back the car failed to start. It turns out the timing belt tensioner has failed, causing catastrophic engine failure. We towed the vehicle to the Volkswagen dealership and were told the work would be covered under the warranty but we would only have to pay $990 for the engine strip down.

    We agreed to this and after it was dismantled Volkswagen told us they made a mistake and only $3000 of the work would be covered under warranty and the total cost to fix the current engine will cost $12,000. The timing chain tensioner had failed, causing catastrophic engine damage.

    They initially suggested we claim on our car insurance, not sure why? The garage have said the best they can do is fit a second hand reconditioned engine and this will cost $8000 minus $3000 warranty so $5000 to be paid from us. The engine will get a months warranty only with no guarantee it won't happen again.

    After conducting some research it appears there is a defect on this particular engine which means the engines fail prematurely causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. This is a defect on certain engines from 2008 until 2013 and not a case of if it fails but when. As the cars get older, more and more engines are failing. The issue is well documented online and apparently Volkswagen is aware of the problem and issued a Technical Service Bulletin to dealers making them aware. Unfortunately, Volkswagen will not do a recall. There are several Class Actions underway worldwide for this exact timing chain tensioner problem as numerous VW owners are experiencing the same issue.

    The service handbook makes no mention of the tensioner needing checking until at least 120,000kms and our car had only done 100,000kms. Volkswagen Australia and the dealership are not cooperating and our car is up on bricks. We have made a complaint to the WA Department of Commerce.

    Going to court is a costly business but do you feel we will have a case. We really don't want the car back in case the engine fails again and at best we will be left with a Volkswagen with a non-original engine which will devalue the vehicle. We would prefer a refund.

    Any help is much appreciated.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Hi Gilly,

    14 months post purchase is a fairly long time to be claiming breach of consumer warranty of acceptable quality under Australian Consumer Law on the part of the dealer. In terms of taking of action against Volkswagen, its difficult to determine whether the court would determine that the particular fault you are talking about would amount to a failure to guarantee a vehicle is of acceptable quality since there is limited case law available on this topic and I assume the class actions in Australia (if they exist) have not yet been decided.

    I would recommend by sending Volkswagen - the dealership and Volkswagen Australia letters of demand claiming a refund for the cost of the vehicle based on breaches of the Australian Consumer law Guarantee of Acceptable quality and fitness for purpose.

    In order to get a refund, it needs to be a major failure to guarantee quality which is where a "reasonable consumer would not have bought the car had they known about the problem, or when the car is substantially unfit for its normal purpose". You can also threaten that if they don't pay, you will involve the ACCC or sue them in court.

    See where you get and be persistent and badger them.
     
  3. Gilly

    Gilly Member

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    Thanks Victoria,

    I have filed a complaint with the ACCC who are already aware of this fault with the engine. I've demanded a refund based on the acceptable quality and also creating a false and misleading impression. The dealership advised us the total repair cost would be $990 and the extended warranty would cover all the rest. Luckily we recorded the conversation.


    I have emailed VW Germany and VW Australia with the transcript and demanded they honour this verbal agreement. They initially denied this was ever said but after I threatened to contact the media they are negotiating on a discounted price for repair. I am nothing if not persistent. And yes the class action are in the USA and still ongoing....
     

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