Recently purchased a new LDV90. In the first 2 months I have had the following issues:
(a) Air con not working
(b) middle seat belt buckly not anchored to car (my local dealer tried to charge me for this saying it wasn’t under warranty)
iii. Smart screen (including reverse camera) stopped working
iv. usb charger - not working
v. 12v charger not working
vi. cruise control - not working
vii. warning alarm for seatbelt malfunction
viii. Engine warning light on.
I believe the safety issues are major enough, but how many minor issues does it take before these issues become categorised as major (as per Australian Consumer Law - multiple minor issues become a major issue).
With the safety issues of the car (and after travelling through central NSW with 4 kids with no air-con) and the list of issues growing, I have requested a refund but the dealer has refused, stating they will fix the issues. I know they have to do this (under warranty), but don’t I have rights to seek a refund due to the serious issues and the list of minor issues?
I think you are out of luck trying to insist on a replacement. There are no specific “lemon laws” in Oz that specify that a car with many problems must be replaced if the owner requests. The usual remedies of refund, repair or replace apply but the choice is up to the retailer.
Normally goods must be suitable for the intended purpose and if a product simply doesn’t work you have recourse to either refund or replacement. However if the retailer says it can be made suitable and functional through repair I don’t think generally you can compel them to do otherwise, at least in the beginning.
If they cannot repair the car satisfactorily within a reasonable time you may have a case but as with many definitions under ACL “reasonable” is in the eye of the beholder. Legal action may be required to get clarity. The retailer may string out the process and declare that they will repair each problem within a reasonable time and if a new problem occurs that will be done in its turn. To some degree they would be right as they can hardly fix a problem before it is evident however there seems no way to aggregate the problems to say that they must all be fixed in a reasonable time.
In recent years there have been a number of new-to-our-market cars from China. Anecdotal evidence is they are still ‘learning’ in the manner of early Japanese and then Korean car makers - with both the latter becoming respected market forces. Unfortunately the Chinese brands anecdotally still have inconsistent reputations for quality as well as service and support, case dependent.
Your best way forward is to assure all problems and complaints are made in writing following the ACL ‘Letter of Complaint’ template, delivered to your dealer (owner/director) and cc it to LDV. If you have not already and have only dealt with your dealer, try ringing LDV at 1800 709 832. Be factual and unfortunately you need to keep problems in perspective. Some of your list are annoyances but others might be considered safety issues that can be reported here. For example it is possible some warning lights could make your vehicle unroadworthy and thus not insured depending on how the fault relates to roadworthy requirements.
Unfortunately we do not have explicit Lemon Laws so vehicular issues are between the customer, dealer, and importer or in very few cases the manufacturer.
Some topics that might provide some perspective here include
Choice has some useful information on what to do if you have bought a car with problems or is a lemon:
The ACCC also has some useful information in relation to what is required under the Australian Consumer Law
I sympathise with you as when one spends a lot of money (often the biggest or second purchase many make), one expects that a new car will be relatively fault free. Due to the complexity of vehicles and their manufacture, one can expect a small number of issues from time to time, but not a list of issues which you have found. Having many issues would have left you with a ‘bad taste’ in your mouth and soured the excitement of owning a new vehicle.
When pursuing, be objective and straight to the point. Also don’t exaggerate the issue - such as claiming that not having air-conditioning is a safety issue. If it was a safety issue, the Australian Design Rules would mandate air-conditioning in all new vehicles. Not having air-conditioning is a inconvenience rather than safety issue. Being emotional, long winded or exaggerating will most likely result in those trying to resolve the problems you have, getting offside.
I appreciate the advice … and I will definitely look into it … the safety issues were the seatbelt (didn’t think they could sell me a vehice with the buckle not anchored to the car … and not happy when I only found out when trying to strap my son in) and the failure of the reverse camera (listed as a safety feature) … great advice about being objective
I initially thought it only required the affected seat to be unoccupied but it appears almost any seat belt problem causes non-compliance with the ADR, thus failure of a roadworthy, and thus uninsured because it is unroadworthy if driven in that condition excepting going to the repairer (dealer). I presume it was promptly rectified by installing the missing bolt or whatever caused it? Claiming it was not a warranty item is a bit over the top in my opinion.
Depending on what is causing the engine warning light it could be a problem. An old post about a real event in a land far away. It is always important to get everything in writing, including being fobbed off if that is what is happening.
If you have another dealer within reasonable distance I would investigate their services; while all dealers are expected to do warranty work some are more willing than others because they usually are not paid well to do it by the importer. OTOH many do, being hopeful of getting a few years of service business in return, that is profitable.
In a positive result, after following the ACL letter of complaint template, in particular reinforcing the idea that the safety issues were major, as were the number of minor issues making it a major issue, the dealer has refunded us the purchase price.
I had made complaints to Fair Trading and the ACCC, and put in writing they had 5 days to respond or I would lodge the matter with NCAT. A day after dropping the vehicle off at my local dealer (who had initially indicated it would take 4 weeks to be able to look at the vehicle - but following a request from the General Manager from the Dealer I purcahsed the vehicle from they agreed for us to drop it off), the General Manager contacted me and agreed to the refund.
When I went to empty the car out and return the spare key, the local dealer indicated they had not looked at the vehicle. I can’t be sure whether this was the case and why the refund was granted, but my advice is:
i. Definitely follow the ACL letter of complaint template. In particular include dates and specific issues, that they are major issues, and if there are numerous minor issues, there is the argument that this makes the issues major.
ii. Give timelines as to when you would like a reply. Initially in my email to request a refund, this request was ignored and included an apology to fix the issues. I replied with a direct request for a refund and a date I expected a response. Following this, each time I requested anything I requested a date of reply.
iii. As indicated on this thread, just outline the date, issues, the issues are major, and what has been done (if anything) to rectify the issue.
iv. NCAT is a great resource and publishes matters, with a number dealing with new cars and requests for replacements / refunds. For example in the matter of Huchinson v Central Coast Automotive ( Hutchinson v Central Coast Automotive Pty Ltd - NSW Caselaw the applicant was successful in seeking a refund, which included minor issues (14 over 18 months), then the vehicle experienced some engine issues. This includes (see at ) that the applicant had requested a refund, and whilst they continues to fight for this, they drove the vehicle around for 18 months, but this did not void the request for a refund.
Anyway, thanks heaps for the advice I received here. I will definitely continue to monitor this site for information and with any questions I may have.