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QLD Purchased New Volkswagen Car - Options on Getting a Refund?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by stars, 10 November 2015.

  1. stars

    stars Member

    10 November 2015
    Likes Received:
    We purchased a new Volkswagen Amarok in July 2015, and it started having issues in late September with the gear selector. After taking the car to the dealer they said that the car was not safe to drive and that it had to be left with them while we waited 4 weeks for the required part to come from Germany.

    4 weeks later the part was fitted, and didn't fix the problem, after some back and forth with Volkswagen Australia they decided to replace the whole gear box. A new gear box has now been fitted and the problem has still not been fixed. I have been given a car hire to use for this time, but not one that could tow, or go offroad like the Amarok. Volkswagen have had the car for almost 6 weeks, and it is only 4 months old.

    We bought the Amarok specifically because we are planning a 12 week touring holiday with our new camper trailer. We are due to leave in 5 weeks and right now we don't have a car to tow the camper with. If we don't get the car back soon we will either have to cancel our trip (that we have arranged time off work and taken kids out of school for) or buy a new car that can tow the camper.

    Volkswagen Australia has told me they will never refund or replace a car, they will continue to try and fix it for the 3 years of the warranty. What are our options for getting a refund or a replacement car from Volkswagen, as the car hire they have given us is not suitable for our trip? Is it worth taking legal action under Australian Consumer Law on this?
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Guest

    Hi stars,

    The ACCC has put out a booklet dealing specifically with the Australian Consumer Laws with regard to purchase and servicing of vehicles.

    The ACL provides that manufacturers and retailers must guarantee certain things about their vehicles including that they must be of acceptable quality and reasonably fit for purpose.

    Whether or not a vehicle is of acceptable quality is determined by whether a reasonable consumer, fully aware of a motor vehicle's condition (including any defects) would find it:
    • fit for all the purposes for which vehicles of that kind are commonly supplied
    • acceptable in appearance and finish
    • free from defects
    • safe
    • durable
    Other things that are taken into account are:
    • the nature of the motor vehicle – for example: is it new? 4wd? high performacne etc?
    • the price paid; and
    • representations made about the vehicle, including advertising and warranties
    If the vehicle is not of acceptable quality - the remedy you are entitled to as a consumer will depend on whether or not it is classified as a major or minor failure: The brochure defines major failures to include instances when "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."

    When there is a major failure to comply with a guarantee, you can choose to either reject the vehicle and choose a refund or identical replacement or keep the vehicle and ask for compensation for the drop in value caused by the mechanical problem.

    I would write a letter to Volkswagon stating your entitlements under the ACL and demand a refund or replacement and see what they say. If they refuse I would take them to the Dept of fair trading or Qld equivalent.
  3. tsrwright

    tsrwright Member

    17 November 2015
    Likes Received:
    With respect, that's not a very practical answer. What do you mean by "Take them to the Dept of Fair Trading"? What are they going to do - isn't this a matter between the purchaser and the seller?

    Assuming they VW or in my case another supplier politely snigger into their hands and say we don't do refunds, what are the options?

    Can the vehicle be sold by the purchaser and damages claimed from the seller for the inevitable loss?Or does the purchaser have to sit with an unusable vehicle until a legal case for the full value of the vehicle is fought out?
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Guest

    The ACL is a law, manufacturers and retailers are obliged to adhere to it and can't simply refuse to provide a refund if you are entitled to one. You can either take them to court and sue them, if you are confident you have a case. Before doing that however, the Dept of Fair Trading or similar administers the law and can be of assistance in resolving disputes between manufacturers/retailers and consumers.

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