Investigation highlights 'widespread issues' among Australia's new vehicle manufacturers

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Watchdog accuses car companies of ripping off new car buyers

Market watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has its sights set on the new auto industry after complaints about new vehicle manufacturers jumped by more than 10,000 over the past two years.

"Fuel consumption and emissions are often major purchasing factors for buyers when choosing their vehicle", Mr Sims said.

"The ACCC is deeply concerned about the level of non-compliance with the ACL in the new auto industry", ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

According to the investigation, auto manufacturers' complaints handling and policies are shunning consumer entitlements under Australian Consumer Law (ACL). "We will continue to take action to address failures by vehicle manufacturers and retailers to provide the remedies to which consumers are entitled".

Research from the Australian Automobile Association indicates that real-world fuel consumption is on average 25 per cent higher than official laboratory test results that are provided on mandatory vehicle labels.

"These proposed changes would entitle consumers to get a refund or a replacement within a set period of time if a new vehicle doesn't work", Mr Sims said.

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The ACCC is now calling for a mandatory scheme to be introduced that would essentially force auto manufacturers to share technical information with independent repairers.

"They would also clarify that multiple non-major failures can amount to a major failure and also require that there be clearer disclosure to consumers in relation to warranties".

"We think consumers are getting a pretty bad deal with new cars, they're not getting their consumer guarantees which means they don't get all their rights in terms of replacements or refunds", Mr Sims said. I think we've got to drag the new vehicle industry into the current century.

Consumers are also not receiving accurate information about fuel consumption or emissions performance from new cars, the ACCC has found. "We're concerned that what new auto buyers are told their vehicle will achieve is very different from practice".

The ACCC expected to release its final decision on 26 October 2017.

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