CHAIRMAN, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION
PROTECTING the rights of car buyers has become a high priority for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and its chairman Rod Sims.
That’s good news for us punters, but what’s pushing ACCC down this path? More than 10,000 complaints about car manufacturers and retailers in 2016-17.
“We think consumers are getting a pretty bad deal with new cars. They’re not getting their consumer guarantees which means they don’t get all their rights in terms of replacements or refunds,” Sims told the ABC.
“There’s a whole lot of historical behaviour that needs to change considerably. I think we’ve got to drag the new-car industry into the current century.
“They’ve got to understand that consumers do have guarantee rights.” In recent times the ACCC has taken action against Volkswagen and Audi over diesel gate, as well as Ford over the Powershift transmission issue.
It has also gained a court enforceable undertaking from Holden to comply with consumer guarantee obligations and a similar undertaking from Hyundai, which has even agreed to publish on its website data relating to issues or faults with its different models.
The ACCC has also pushed brands to work harder on the Takata airbag recall and wrapped up an 18-month investigation into the auto retail industry, in which it called for a more realistic real-world fuelconsumption testing regime and access for independent repairers to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) service information.
Veteran industry observer John Mellor, now Publisher of Goautomedia, is in no doubt about the impact of the ACCC’S new-found militancy.
“These moves in the car industry are unprecedented and are certain to change the shape of the relationship between car buyers and the retail industry,” says Mellor.