WA Statutory Warranty - How to Recover Costs from Dealer?

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2 August 2016
One week ago, I purchased a vehicle from a Car Dealer yard in Perth. I inspected the vehicle myself and deemed it to be in very good condition and agreed to purchase the vehicle and paid a deposit. The following evening, I paid the remainder of the purchase price and took delivery of the car.

Two days later, the car began to emit a large amount of white smoke from the exhaust on startup. The smoke stops after about 30 seconds to 1 minute however this is obviously a major concern. After researching what could be causing the white smoke it could be a number of issues ranging from minor e.g. Valve Seals need replacing to major eg. Worn Valve Seats or possibly a blown head gasket.

The car definitely did not produce any white smoke when I inspected it or took delivery of it - if it did I never would have purchased the car in the first place. I suspect the dealer may have "tampered" with the vehicle in order to get it to stop smoking temporarily using some kind of additive - that is purely speculation of course.

The car is still under the Statutory Warranty of 1 month for its age/klms. I have notified the warranty provider of the issues and was advised to book it into the dealers nominated mechanic to inspect the vehicle and provide a report and quote to the warranty provider before making any repairs. I won't know what the issue is until Friday this week, unfortunately.

In the event that the issues with the vehicle are major or require me to pay additional costs that may not be covered under the statutory warranty what would be the best course of action for me to either:

a.) recover those costs from the dealer or
b.) recover the entire cost of the purchase of the vehicle.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


Australian Consumer law only allows you to obtain a refund if a motor vehicle does not meet the consumer guarantees (such as the guarantee that it is of acceptable quality) in a way that is considered a major failure.

This is defined to include situations where:
  • 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
  • the motor vehicle is significantly different from the description, sample or demonstration model shown to the consumer. For example, a consumer orders
  • a car with a diesel engine after test-driving the demonstration model, but the car delivered has a petrol engine
  • the motor vehicle is substantially unfit for its normal purpose and cannot easily be made fit within a reasonable time. For example, the engine of a pick-up vehicle, with a stated towing capacity of 3500 kilograms and normally used for towing, has a design flaw that causes it to overheat when it tows a load of more than 2500 kilograms
  • the motor vehicle is substantially unfit for a purpose that the consumer told the supplier about, and cannot easily be made fit within a reasonable time. For example, a sports utility vehicle does not have enough towing capacity to tow a consumer's boat, despite the consumer telling the supplier the boat's specifications
  • the motor vehicle is unsafe. What is "unsafe" will depend on the circumstances of each case. For example, a truck has faulty brakes that cause the vehicle to require a significantly greater braking distance than safe for normal use.
When there is a major failure to comply with a consumer guarantee, the consumer can choose to reject the motor vehicle and choose a refund or an identical replacement (or one of similar value if reasonably available), or keep the motor vehicle and ask for compensation for any drop in its value caused by the problem.

If it is not a major failure your only remedy is for the dealer to fix the problem.

Obviously you will have to wait and see what the diagnosis of the mechanic is in order to determine whether it was likely to be of acceptable quality for its age and condition when you purchased it.


Well-Known Member
29 June 2016
It would also depend on the cost of the motor vehicle and/or whether was purchased for business purposes. Also can you elaborate on the difference between "warranty provider" and "dealer". I thought they would be one of the same but a bit confused with the terms.