CHOICE membership

Have you ever had trouble getting a refund or replacement for your new lemon car? Tell us about it!



It should be easy to get a refund when your new car doesn’t work due to a manufacturing defect but unfortunately that’s rarely the case. Instead new car owners stuck with lemons spend countless hours waiting at the repair shop, liaising with their car dealer or scrutinising the manufacturer’s warranty. This shouldn’t be the way. When a new car, just like any other product, is faulty and doesn’t work, you should be able to easily get a remedy of your choosing, like a refund or replacement.

We’re getting into gear to launch a new campaign on lemon cars, but first we need your help. If you’ve ever bought a new car that was so faulty you couldn’t drive it in the first 2 months of owning it, can you share your story with us? You can post it here or send it in to

With your help we can drive change together.



In the early years of this millennium, my wife and I traded in a Honda for a new Citroen. This car had endless problems, from breaking down regularly to tail lights not working (are you sure your wife driving behind you could see properly?) to the alarm going off endlessly while the car was sitting quietly in our garage. The dealer seemed more interested in its Porsche customers, and constantly fobbed us off.

I eventually wrote to Citroen Australia, and they did… nothing. I think I got a form letter back about it, but it’s somewhere buried in the files and - well - it’s all just too painful.

We ended up trading the dud Citroen in for a one year old Mitsubishi Magna, and a year later went back to get a second Magna. Both are running strong, and will be driven until their final demise.

The Citroen was our first and last new car. Happy to name and shame the dealership if you’d like, as the entire mess is fully documented.


edit: fixed link to point to intended post

That was probably when ATECO was the importer. They had a reputation of reputations. Since that post and after ATECO almost completely destroyed the marque Citroen moved on to the Peugeot importer Sime Darby, who could not get either of the French brands going. 2 years ago Inchcape became importer who had a good record with Subaru, but them taking on PSA cars was not well done as evidenced by internet chats at the time.

During ATECO’s time their dealerships reflected ATECO disinterest in customers who had accepted their keys and driven off. Responses to problems were a circus of ‘making it go away’.

Back to the topic, not only is there a worry about our lack of serious consumer protection for vehicles in fact rather than just theory, sometimes the ultimate responsible party supposedly supporting a dealer can be a moving target that is not the manufacturer or their subsidiary, but is an importer ‘of the moment’, and some try to make it right but are not up to doing so. Others pride themselves in slick web sites and don’t care about much else expect dollars coming in and none going out.


The lemon doesn’t only apply to new cars! Older cars sometimes develop systemic faults that the manufacturers refuse to acknowledge.

While I acknowlege that the ACL would and should apply to new cars, perhaps keep in mind challenges faced by car owners who have older vehicles that have developed serious flaws which by the volume of complaints on the internet indicate that it is a systemic failure.


Takata airbags being one issue that should be subject to lemon laws even on older cars. Would someone have bought the vehicle if they had know of the fault? Isn’t that part of the ACL rights of a consumer?


When we asked our online supporters in May if they thought they should be offered a refund or a replacement when their new car doesn’t work, more than 18,000 said yes. We couldn’t agree more.

When you buy a new car and it’s defective, you should be offered a refund. We think it’s a big problem that car companies get away with behaviour that wouldn’t hold in any other industry. We’ve launched our lemon cars campaign to highlight and illustrate the problem that new car buyers face when they buy a lemon.

We’re focusing on Australia’s top 10 car companies and, by demanding more from them, we’re hoping to ensure that unfair treatment of new car owners becomes a thing of the past. To start, we’ll be asking companies like Mazda and Ford to adopt the 60-day refund policy. This policy sets a standard for how you should be treated if you get a lemon car. With the 60-day refund policy in place, your consumer rights will be clearly spelled out for car dealers and manufacturers to comply with – there’ll be no room for interpretation, making it easier to get a remedy of your choice within those first months of ownership.

We’ve seen major car companies like Toyota, Holden and Volkswagen already take up the policy. What we need to see now is all car companies in Australia agree to it as a simple way to commit to improving their refund practices and compliance with the law.


Here’s an update on our ongoing lemon cars campaign. So far, only three companies – Nissan, Kia and Mitsubishi – have responded to our call for change.


A great project.

Has there been any interest or support from the state run or national motoring organisations?

The RACV, RACQ, NRMA, etc are all run supposedly for their members as non profit organisations. All supposedly champion better outcomes for their members?

It may be a supportive public response from each to the Choice Campaign might be just what is needed.

Or are they too chicken?

It is informative to consider the AAA submission Dec 2016 to The Australian Consumer Law Review.

At that time the AAA presented a ‘Summary of Findings’ in 9 Positions. It reads a bit like a Sammy J sketch script. The powder puff is a useful accessory in any public discussion?

The FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries), which sounds a bit like a third House of Parliament but isn’t seemed to say something similar more recently, with perhaps less emphasis on the consumer.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) doesn’t believe there is a need to force manufacturers to commit to a time-specific guarantee because the current laws provide protection to owners.

_The FCAI chief Tony Weber says: _

“New car sales in Australia are also covered by Australian Consumer Law (ACL), one of the most stringent consumer protection laws in the world. This prescribes a guarantee of acceptable quality and safety. Included in the ACL is the notion of major and non-major failures and all FCAI members, together with their dealer networks, respond to consumer issues with both their own comprehensive warranty guarantees and the ACL in mind.

Thanks to


I received an email from Hyundai Australia , shown below ,re my email to them regarding “lemon cars” . I’m surprised . They even extend the time required passed 60 days . I’m impressed . Pardon the sarcasm .

Customer Care (Hyundai Customer Care)

Aug 20, 12:26 PM AEST

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your email. Hyundai takes any concerns raised by our customers very seriously and is committed to meeting or exceeding our obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which is the foundation for consumer protection in Australia. We have frameworks and systems in place to ensure our customers get proper entitlements under the ACL, for more than just the first 60 days from purchase.

If you have any concerns with your Hyundai vehicle, please feel free to contact us on 1800 186 306.

Kind regards,
Craig Salthouse
Assistant Manager Customer Care
Hyundai Motor Company Australia
Phone: 1800 186 306


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