Given the minister Karen Andrews’ press release said this,
The Morrison Government will consult industry on draft automotive regulations in the coming months.
It appears consumers and any interested representative organisations have a considerable task in front of them if they hope to influence the outcomes?
Many of us will have thoughts on both points, with @phb already having shared a few.
Hopefully there are others who can relate their personal experiences per your request.
Like many others I can only relate issues that have become evident well after the first two months of ownership. We share two vehicles, both 14+ years old. Our experience of these and one other more recent purchase suggests that the deficiencies in consumer protection for warranty and support are extensive.
The toaster analogy and variations on it I feel make a powerful metaphor. Whether a toaster, a fridge or a $10,000 75” 4x QLED flatscreen TV, why should consumers accept less or have a more difficult path to remedy if it is a vehicle?
Any mandatory code needs to cut through all variations in the maze between the retailer(dealership) and the importer/manufacturer. The dealerships are currently suggesting the warranty problem is not theirs, and that warranty is something they have no control over. Tough! A dealership has a choice to be in the business or not, and to accept or reject any agreement with the suppliers. If they make a bad deal with the supplier, why should the customer wear the consequences! The chain along the way is too tricky for any typical consumer to navigate.
We as consumers have no sight of the agreements/contacts between the dealerships and their suppliers or even through the chain of distributor/s, importers to the manufacturer (overseas). What ever comes through possible legislative improvements for consumers needs to be impervious to obfuscation. There are two readily identified entities in this chain within the reach of Australian law (the selling dealership and the importer who pays the customs clearances and holds the certification license for the imported vehicles).
I’d look carefully to how the current ACL is constructed in respect of everyday purchases (the base case $40 toaster being one such example). While not perfect the ACL appears to deliver better for such items than any other model of consumer legislation. For a vehicle with a longer everyday warranty (5yrs commonly) the same outcomes as for a toaster, dishwasher, fridge adjusted for the longer time periods for a motor vehicle should apply and beyond to the full warranty period.
Consumers can purchase fridges, Audio visual equipment and kitchen appliances with $10k price tags. Nearly the value of a new small vehicle. Which suggests that the 60 day replacement suggested for a motor vehicle should realistically extend for a major defect or failure for at least one year, or for something that is not reasonably repairable, 100% cash back.
There is a further point of discussion that even after 4 years, and 60,000km or so any vehicle that has had repeated failures and defects is no longer for for purpose. The owner in consequently suffering loss of use and value should retain both a right and a direct consumer claim to a suitable agreed placement or part refund on a government consumer organisation (and not industry) depreciation schedule.
I’d suggest consumers should also actively campaign to encourage or shame the various state motorists organisations to being on the consumers side and part of the solution, as a service to their members. Is it a likely outcome? I’d like to see it happen, as taking on the industry in a consumer tribunal hearing consumers might need some relevant independent technical support with relevant expert knowledge. I have my doubts the organisations don’t already have half a foot in the industry door.