The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) is calling for a lemon law to protect owners of new vehicles that prove consistently unreliable.

THE AUSTRALIAN AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET ASSOCIATION (AAAA) has backed calls by both Senator Ricky Muir, the Consumer Action Law Centre and the Public Defender to examine vehicle manufacturer conduct in cases when consumers have new vehicles that breakdown repeatedly.

AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity said the demand for improved regulation, or a lemon law, to ensure vehicles are safe and fit for purpose aligns with the Association’s consumer protection policies. “AAAA has long advocated that the clarity and strength of consumer protection written into vehicle warranties must be improved,” he said.

“In particular, the AAAA has pressed successive Federal Governments for more robust policing of warranty performance by vehicle manufacturers and their dealers. 

“We now welcome the drive for a law that defines a lemon as a vehicle that has been repaired three times by the manufacturer or importer, yet still has a defect, or if the vehicle is out of service for 20 or more days in total due to defects. 

“The AAAA also supports the view that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) probe into car manufacturer behaviour in meeting their consumer guarantee obligations, We believe the onus of proof should be reversed, so the burden of proof falls on the manufacturer or dealer to prove that the vehicle is of acceptable quality and fit for purpose. 

“Our position is that if a vehicle has a major failure or repeated failures, the consumer should have the right to choose between a refund or a replacement. 

“Such policies would eliminate cases where vehicles are repeatedly presented for repairs yet are never really reliable and fit for purpose. Vehicle makers would be encouraged not to rush new models to market without appropriate testing . . . there have been concerning signs of this in recent years.

“Australian car manufacturing will end in about two years making our nation totally reliant on imports. Australian consumers should not be used as test markets by international manufacturers. 

“We encourage the ACCC to act quickly to make consumer protection more robust,” said Stuart Charity. 


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