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VIC Major Issues with Lemon Car - Get Refund Back?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by antegeia7, 27 May 2016.

  1. antegeia7

    antegeia7 Member

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    Greetings.

    Many thanks for providing us with useful information. From what I see here, used car issues are very popular. Please read my case and help, if you wish. I feel that I have purchased a lemon car and by reading this, you will understand my concerns.

    So where to begin from. I purchased a used car from a dealer in Victoria just 3 weeks ago. On the first 2 days, everything was fine. Since then, the problems were started. Firstly, there were funny clicky noises (insignificant) and the boot was not closing perfectly resulting in nosies each time I was on a rough surface. I noticed then that the back wiper wasn't working. So I addressed all of those and we fixed them.

    All good (I wish). Those funny clicking and ticking noises still existed and eventually, I noticed a significant decline in the car's power and a siren noise like an ambulance. I knew that the turbo was not boosting.

    I took it to the dealer's mechanic and he confirmed the turbo has passed away and the dealer fixed it. Just had it yesterday, however, I discussed with the dealer that I no longer wish to keep the car and I would have never purchased the car if I knew about this defect.

    The car still makes a new noise coming from the left rim. Like you hit two irons together. Of course, he offered to fix it. However, the whole story is very psychologically stressfull for me as well as my wife. I can no longer do this as it's only 3 weeks of ownership. I have been with his mechanic 6 or 7 times and the car was sitting there for a week ( loan car provided as stated by the law).

    I discussed with the dealer explaing that I wish to friendly reverse the deal and resign the contract expressing all of the above. He refused, saying that it's beyond his control. He is the manager of the company and the others (owners) won't reverse the deal, etc.

    I was willing to even give him something like half of the cost of his stamp duty. I don't feel that I am insane. If I wanted to be at the mechanic daily I would have kept my 16 years old car. I missed hours and hours from work and still have to deal with issues. Can you please provide any help?

    I gave you as much information as I could. Do I get any chance to support that if I knew about the turbo failure/ replacement ( wich is major), I wouldnt have entered that deal? As well as all of these visits to his mechanic? He advised that he will speak again with his "managers" (which sounds like a cheap excuse) and will give an answer on Monday and if they are willing to give a refund and how much it will be.

    I am seriously thinking of lodging a complaint and get this to the court.

    Could you please help me with the case and any potential costs?

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Hi antegeia7,

    I assume that the vehicle you purchased was a used vehicle? It does sound as though there were some major mechanical issues requiring attention in the first 3 weeks of ownership, however the remedy that you are entitled to is up to the court to decide.

    Australian Consumer Law states that you can get a full refund if there is a “major failure”.Whether or not there is a major failure when a newly purchased second hand car breaks down, is not black and white. A "major failure" doesn't need to be a catastrophic problem, but can include a series of problems, or if it takes too long for the car yard to make repairs. In any case whether the issues you have experienced constitute a "major failure" is a matter of interpretation by the court and if a failure is not deemed to be ‘major’, you will not be automatically eligible for a full refund.

    There are numerous VCAT decisions where second hand vehicles have been found to be unroadworthy at the time of sale or which had numerous unworking features yet the consumer was not entitled to a refund, but rather to have the vehicle repaired. Such as this one: Campbell Stuart Smith v Family Auto Group Pty Ltd t/as Western Auto Group - NSW Caselaw
    On the other hand, there have been cases where there are numerous defects such as broken indicator arm, faulty headlight lever, broken sun visor clips, and inoperative CD player, broken passenger side door handle, vent, ignition surround, driver’s side tail light, interior light and seat lever have been found to constitute a major failure -- in that a ‘reasonable consumer’ would not have acquired the vehicle if they had known of the nature and extent of the faults and a refund has been ordered. Therefore it will depend on the court's interpretation.

    As to legal costs, its impossible to provide a precise figure of taking this to court, as it will depend on many factors including whether or not you decide to use lawyers or whether you decide to go through VCAT and represent yourself. VCAT has been established as a low cost forum to allow cases to be heard without legal representation. However it is difficult for consumers to apply Australian consumer law to their case and obtain the best evidence to support their case, so obtaining advice from a lawyer may assist you. You may also need to obtain expert evidence from a mechanic as to whether your car's defects constitute a major failure.

    I would start by lodging a complaint with VIC Consumer Affairs and get some advice from them. Sometimes simply sending a letter of demand to the dealer and involving consumer affairs will get things going. Probably won't get you a refund, but may get your repairs done quicker.
     
  3. antegeia7

    antegeia7 Member

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    Thank you for your answer Victoria and for your time to read my topic.

    As you presumed the car is secondhand yes. I can't say that he is delaying the repairs or he is not assisting with the whole story. The turbo issue has been fixed and replaced however I am concerned about the future and what else may happen.

    If I knew that the car has had this issue even fixed then I wouldn't have taken it. Thus, I wish to return it and ask for refund. Besides I'm not sure what depreciation caused by the turbocharger replacement. As stated I have been with his mechanic more than 7 times and spent like 500kms on the road for repairs.

    Thanks
     
  4. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    If the vehicle has been repaired and you have no current issues then I'm not sure what you can claim under Australian Consumer Law. In circumstances where the dealer has already fixed the mechanical issue and it is only your fear of what else may be wrong with the car that is persisting then it is very unlikely a court would award you a refund, if you took it further.

    At best you may get orders awarding you a bit of compensation for the loss of value in your vehicle if any. If you don't trust the car your only other option is to trade it in for another one. You can try to trade it with the dealer you went through initially or through someone else.
     
  5. antegeia7

    antegeia7 Member

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    Once more, thank you, Victoria. When something begins wrong it will be always wrong, isnt it?

    Now here is the new issue. Car was sold with roadworthy and now less than a month redbook mechanics found it unroadworthy due to rear tyres.

    I am saying that if I knew that the car had this repaired issue I wouldn't have taken it. That's my only one to claim, I think, plus the unroadworthiness. I'm so tired of this whole story.

    Again many thanks for your time.
     

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