Consumer advocate CHOICE has written to major Australian car companies, asking them to adopt a fair and clear 60-day refund policy and is asking Australians to get involved and demand better.
CHOICE has called on major car brands Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda to adopt the 60-day refund policies of Toyota, Holden and Volkswagen.
"This promise - to refund someone if their brand new car stops working in 60 days - is a bare minimum acknowledgement of consumer rights. The bar is low, but so many of our car companies can’t even get a pass mark here," says CHOICE consumer rights advocate Amy Pereira.
The response from industry has been underwhelming at best. Only three companies - Nissan, Kia, and Mitsubishi - have responded to CHOICE’s call for change, but none have agreed to implement a clear 60-day refund policy.
"While we give Toyota, Holden and Volkswagen a pass, they had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards a fair and clear policy. As for others, right now you get better treatment with a faulty $40 toaster than a faulty $40k car when it comes to refunds."
"Car companies need to meet community expectations and the law by offering refunds when they've sold a lemon. Australians expect much better treatment from car companies when it comes to faulty new cars."
"Industry has been on notice about lemon car problems for years - action to lift customer care is long overdue. A 2016 CHOICE report on lemon cars found that two thirds of Australians (66%) experience problems with their new cars in the first five years, with 14% reporting major problems that either caused the car to stop working or seriously impaired its operation."
CHOICE is asking Australians to demand fair refunds for lemon cars.
Pereira says CHOICE will be pressuring major car manufacturers to do better.
"Cars are a vital and expensive purchase. We rely on them for work and family and to be given the runaround when things go wrong is unacceptable. We deserve better, especially for such a significant purchase. If the car companies are smart, they'll recognise that fair refund practices and honest interactions when something goes wrong is the best way to keep us as customers long term."
For Australians concerned they’ve been sold a lemon car, CHOICE’s advice is to:
1. Contact the dealer and the Australian head office of the car company
2. Put all your communications in writing
3. Mention the Australian Consumer Law and consumer guarantees that apply to your issue
4. Mention the terms "major failure" or "minor failure"
5. Mention the ACCC and your state’s fair trading authority
Media contact: Katelyn Cameron, 0430 172 669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Examples of letters CHOICE has sent to car companies are available on Dropbox.
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