It’s no surprise that over 9 in 10 Victorians* believe it should be easy to get a refund or repair from the car dealer for a defective car. But this is simply not the experience for many Victorians who find themselves lumped with a lemon.
Cars play an essential role in the lives of most families to participate fully in society, whether it is getting to work, dropping kids off at school, picking up groceries or participating in sport. They simply can’t afford to be off the road for months while waiting for a VCAT hearing.
This is a big problem. Over 1 in 5 calls to Consumer Action’s legal advice line last year, 1,100 calls were from people with car problems. Consumer Affairs Victoria received a total of 7,848 contacts about motor car trading in 2014-15.
While Victorians have rights under the Australian Consumer Law, enforcing these rights is often too hard. That’s why the Government’s Access to Justice Review recommended that funding be made available for a specialist motor vehicle dispute resolution service, and to level the playing field by providing a free expert technical report on the car.
Car traders are already licensed by the Government, making participation and compliance with a dispute resolution service a natural fit. Our lawyers are convinced that this recommendation will make it easier and fairer for Victorians who purchase defective lemon cars to access justice.