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QLD New Car Emitting Musty Smell - What to Do?

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

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  1. kosso

    kosso Member

    27 May 2016
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    We bought a new car, and for the first few months, it was good. Then we started getting a musty smell, a bit like mould coming through the vents,whether we have the aircon on or the heat on and even when it's turned off.

    We mentioned this at the first service. They had a look and said they couldn't find out what the problem was. Services are every 6 months. On the next service, we mentioned it again and said we hated the car. This is our first new car, at our age. It's likely to be our last. They said they looked at the filters, etc, the smell is still there,at the next service.

    We told them the problem was still there, and they said they would put some solution through it and that would sort out the problem. After a few days, it was back again. This car is new and cost us $18,000 - a lot of money.

    We have had many secondhand cars and never had this problem. We feel we are being fobbed off each time we mention it. What can we do about this problem under Australian Consumer Law? We will have had the car 2 years in September.

    Would be grateful for any help.
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

    9 April 2014
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    Hi there,

    I can understand this issue must be frustrating for you. As you may have read, under Australian consumer law dealers must ensure that new vehicles they sell must be free of defects. The issue you are describing appears to have arisen after a period of months of use. It therefore could be arguable that the musty smell is related to how you have used the car or its venting system. For example your car may have got damp inside at some stage and you used the heater / cooler then didn't use the heater or cooler for some time.

    I have heard that smells are a common problem if you don't have the heating / cooling system running constantly. In any event, I'm not sure that a court would consider it to be a major failure -which would entitle you to a refund, therefore your remedy may only be limited to repair anyway. However, i'm not sure what happens if they cannot repair it.

    If you want to take it further I would write a formal letter of demand to the dealer requesting that they repair it immediately or provide a refund or compensation for the loss in value of your vehicle. However I am not hopeful of a favourable response. Then contact the department of fair trading and get their advice. Worst case, you can take it to QCAT. I would also consider taking it to another mechanic and see if they can fix it or at least diagnose why the problem would have arisen.

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