ACT Recourse for Faulty New Car?

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13 September 2014
We purchased our new sports car 2 1/2 years ago and have had nothing but trouble with it. The issues include among other things:
  • the battery exploded (due to faulty manufacture) spreading battery acid through our garage
  • 2 leaking coolant pipes
  • faulty torque converter
  • faulty left front axle (necessitating new tyeares at our expense after 9 months)
  • faulty right front axle (necessitating another set of new tyeares at our expense after 15 months)
  • faulty turbo (stranding us more than 200km from home)
  • the front left wheel bearing has been replaced twice
  • the front right wheel bearing has been replaced once
  • faulty speed sensor
The dealer has been accommodating and arranged for repairs as required. All things considered, I think we have been very patient too. In total our car has spent more than 6 months in the shop.

The issue we are currently faced with involves the paintwork on the bonnet of the car. Shortly after the battery exploded, paint chips started appearing. Of course, paint chips would normally constitute normal wear and tear, except in this case it's a very large number (estimated to be above 100). After many months of negotiation, the manufacturer arranged for a paint assessment to be done. The report has now been delivered, and in the assessor's opinion, the paint chips are consistent with us driving on B grade roads behind a convoy of trucks. He further states that the manufacturer should deny all liability for the state of the paint.

This is total fiction. Our car has never been driven behind a convoy of trucks. We live in a suburban area and travel on normal roads and highways. Our car is garaged during the night and parked in an underground car park during the day. I can't prove we haven't enhanced truck convoys with our sports car, but neither can they prove we have. What I can prove is that the battery exploded in our car and the level of paint chips on the bonnet is not consistent with normal wear and tear.

What sort of options do we now have under Australian Consumer Law? Do we have to accept the manufacturer's position even though it is patent nonsense? I understand that since our contract is with the dealer, this is where our interactions should focus, but I see they are really caught in the middle too. I'd argue the car we were sold is not of acceptable quality - i.e. it was not free from defects and was not durable. No person of sound mind would purchase a car knowing the above list of faults lay ahead. Aside from the tyeares listed above, the paint issue has the potential to cost us financially as any trade-in/resale value on the car is affected by the external appearance. Any advice would be appreciated.

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Smiliemonster,

I would suggest contacting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Essentially, when you purchase a car, or any other type of goods, from a business or professional dealer, there are certain warranties that must be delivered. One such warranty is quality. If the seller does not deliver this warranty, they are liable for the costs of the breach.

Since the paint chipping is a result of the battery exploding, the dealer/manufacture should be paying for the costs of repair. I would suggest getting an independent mechanic/service to issue a report stating that paint chipping is consistent with, or may possibly be caused by, a battery exploding. If possible, get two independent mechanic reports to this effect.