More choices for Victorian car owners

Media Releases

July 25, 2013

The Victorian Coalition Government has welcomed Commonwealth moves to give independent mechanics and car repairers greater access to vehicle repair information from manufacturers.

Meeting with her national and interstate counterparts in Sydney today at the Consumer Affairs Forum, Minister for Consumer Affairs Heidi Victoria said this would address concerns that independent repairers do not have the same level of access to vehicle information as dealer authorised repairers.

“It is excellent to see new measures to increase competition in the car repair market, by creating a process which removes restrictions to independent repairers accessing information from manufacturers,” Ms Victoria said.

“We are working with the car industry to improve sharing of vehicle information, as well as the way consumers are informed of their protections under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Car manufacturers can put conditions on a ‘manufacturers’ warranty’ about who services and repairs a vehicle, but they cannot put restrictions on ‘statutory warranties’ and consumer guarantee protections under the ACL.

“While some cars come with ‘manufacturers’ warranties’ that require any repairs and services be carried out through authorised repairers, the consumer does have the choice, under the ACL, to use another repairer. But to do the work, the repairer must have access to information about the car,” Ms Victoria said.

All Victorian motor vehicles sold after 1 January 2011 are covered by the ACL. If a vehicle fails to meet a guarantee listed in the ACL, the purchaser will have rights against the motor car trader, and also in some cases the vehicle manufacturer who will have to remedy the fault, deficiency or failure to meet an obligation.

In addition, all used cars bought from a licensed motor car trader, under 10 years old or that have travelled less than 160,000 kilometres, come with a three month ‘statutory warranty’ under the Motor Car Traders Act 1986, which requires the trader or manufacturer to fix any faults with the vehicle.

“For a long time there has been confusion about vehicle repairs and how this affects the warranty on your car,” Ms Victoria said.

“These statutory protections apply regardless of who repairs or services your car.”

For used cars, even after the statutory warranty expires, consumers still have rights under the ACL that can be relied on if there is a problem with a vehicle. However, the level of protection will depend on things such as the vehicle’s age and condition.

For further information on statutory warranties and the Australian Consumer Law visit Media contact: Carolyn Jones 0437 996 560

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