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WA How to Get Money Back from Faulty Car Dealer?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Wouter Vervaet, 18 June 2016.

  1. Wouter Vervaet

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    Hi,

    I bought a Volkswagen Transporter from 2007 with around 200000km in September for 17, 999AUD. The jack and some minor things were missing, although it was ticked off in the warranty check. Timing belt was changed but the car is without a timing belt. It should have rang a warning bell but I really liked the van.

    The first month I heard some funny noises and went to a different mechanic and he informed me about a few problems, that turned out to be normal for a Volkswagen Transporter. I went back to the dealer and he took me to 'his' mechanic who said everything was ok. I was reassured and went to the local Volkswagen specialist for a service and all was good.

    Then in April, the crank shaft went. 2 weeks without a car and just short of 6000AUD. I had it fixed with the Volkswagen specialist who said a wrong engine oil was used. I did ring the extended warranty people but they said that's not covered, including normal wear and tear. I did not ring the dealer because he told me when something is wrong, call the warranty people.

    Now I notice an oil leak in the car.

    I am going to bring the van to the Volkswagen specialist to check if they did something wrong when the crankshaft was fixed. If not, I want to go back to the dealer to get my money back for the car and the crank shaft repair.

    How do I go about this? Just confront him and see what he says? What laws can I use to back me up? Are there certain steps I have to follow?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Kind regards,
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Wouter,

    Australian Consumer Law will apply to the transaction between you and the car dealer you purchased the car from. It requires that car dealers guarantee their vehicles are of acceptable quality. However, what is acceptable quality depends on the age and condition of the car when you purchase it.

    For a 9-year-old car with 200km on the clock you can't expect it to have no problems whatsoever. If you want to get a refund under the Australian consumer law, it must be a major failure - something so big that a reasonable consumer would not have bought the motor vehicle if they had known about the full extent of the problem. For example, no reasonable consumer would buy a new car with so many recurring faults that the car has spent more time off the road than on it because several mechanics have been unable to solve the problem.

    If it's not classified by the court as a major failure then you will only be entitled to repair. But there may well be no failure to guarantee acceptable quality if the faults you have experienced could be expected of a car of its condition, age and milage.
     
  3. Wouter Vervaet

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    Hi Sophea,

    Thank you for the quick reply.

    I don't mind small things wrong, it's not a new car after all, but a crank shaft is a big failure.

    How can I find out if it's classified as a major failure by a court, or below acceptable standards?
    Do you mean I have to take the car dealer to court?

    Kind regards
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    You would need to read up on cases that have been decided by the court and see if there is one similar to yours. Here is a link that I know of that lists a few from NCAT Motor vehicles case studies - Consumer and Commercial Division

    Yes, ultimately that is how you would need to seek relief. That is unless you can negotiate with the dealer, convince him that you are entitled to some sort of compensation or a refund (which will be very difficult) or unless you can go through the consumer affairs or the office of fair trading in your state and they decide to get involved (as I understand it they don't usually make binding decisions, like a court can, they may just advise you of your rights).
     

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