Queensland is set to double down on its country-leading laws that specifically target defective cars that can’t be repaired to a customer’s satisfaction, with tough new legislation to come into force on September 1.
Under the amendments to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) will widen its purview on matters relating to new and old vehicles colloquially known as ‘lemons’.
QCAT defines a lemon as ‘having numerous defects that reoccur despite multiple repair attempts or where defects have caused a motor vehicle to be out of service for a prolonged period of time’.
Key to the change is an increase in the amount that can be claimed, from $25,000 to $100,000. The legislation covers car, boats, motorbikes, caravans and motorhomes.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the law changes meant buyers could make their vehicle purchases with greater confidence and peace of mind.
“These measures will build levels of trust in the industry and benefit the majority of motor dealers who are doing the right thing by offering best practice in terms of refunds, replacements and repairs at no cost when a vehicle is faulty,” she said.
Additionally, 30-day/1000km warranties for people buying a vehicle that is more than 10 years old, or which has 160,000km or more on the odometer will be restored. It was scrapped by the previous Liberal National government of Campbell Newman.
The reinstated protection would complement the current three month/5000km warranty for second-hand vehicles bought from a motor dealer that is no more than 10 years old and have travelled less than 160,000km.
“After buying a home, a motor vehicle is often the next biggest purchase a person will make in their life,” said D’Arth.
“When you invest in a car or a caravan, you don’t expect it to be off the road for a lengthy period with all the stress and inconvenience that can cause.”
Consumers in other states can, of course, still claim a full refund for a faulty vehicle, but Queensland moves the process from a law court to a tribunal.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a product or good has a major problem when:
- it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
- it is significantly different from the sample or description
- it is substantially unfit for its common purpose and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time
- it doesn’t do what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time; or
- it is unsafe.
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