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Car companies reject refund policy: Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and more

"You get better treatment with a $40 toaster than a $40k car."

amy pereria infront of mazda car lemon car refunds
Last updated: 12 August 2019

Need to know

  • We're calling on Australian car companies to adopt a fair and clear 60-day refund policy, so if you buy a new car and it doesn't work, you can easily get a refund
  • Only three companies – Nissan, Kia and Mitsubishi – have responded to our call for change. None have agreed to implement a clear 60-day refund policy 
  • Sign our petition to call on car companies to treat you fairly

A new car is one of the biggest buys of your lifetime. But if you get stuck with a lemon, you'll spend more time in the repair shop than on the road – even if you've only owned it a few months.

We've called on major car brands Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda to adopt the 60-day refund policies already adopted by 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," says CHOICE consumer rights advocate Amy Pereira. "The bar is low, but so many of our car companies can't even get a pass mark here."

Response from industry underwhelming

Only three companies – Nissan, Kia and Mitsubishi – have responded to our call for change, and 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," says Pereira. "As for others, right now, you get better treatment with a faulty $40 toaster than a faulty $40k car when it comes to refunds."

You get better treatment with a faulty $40 toaster than a faulty $40k car when it comes to refunds

CHOICE consumer rights advocate, Amy Pereira

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.

We're asking Australians to demand fair refunds for lemon cars. We'll be pressuring major car manufacturers to do better.

Two thirds of Australians experience problems with their new cars in the first five years

"Cars are a vital and expensive purchase," says Pereira. "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."

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