The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will investigate sharp practice in Australia’s new car industry after receiving an avalanche of complaints.
The Commission will closely examine how the new car selling industry works and zoom in on the key issues highlighted by customer complaints.
The market study will look at:
- consumer guarantees, warranties and new cars
- false, misleading and deceptive practices around fuel consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) and noxious emissions, and car performance
- post-sale service arrangements and their effect on competition and on consumers
- the availability and access to repair and service information and data
The ACCC said it had received a large number of complaints from consumers relating to new car sales and that other relevant agencies and complaint handling bodies had also reported a growing number of complaints, both from consumers and industry.
“A new car is one of the most significant purchases that a consumer will make and issues with these purchases can have a significant financial consequence,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“The ACCC and other Australian consumer law agencies continue to receive a high volume of complaints from consumers about new cars and this market study will help identify any systemic issues across the sector.”
Part of the Commission’s remit is to assess whether market characteristics, including new car buyer behaviours and expectations, are conducive – or damaging – to competition.
“The ACCC would like to determine if car manufacturers and dealers understand their consumer guarantee obligations, and whether consumers are able to exercise their rights,” Mr Sims said.
“The representations made to consumers about fuel consumption and emissions are another key issue, as are issues around regular servicing and repairs and the ability of independent repairers to access repair and service data.”
Mr Sims said that the issues paper would help people identify and alert the ACCC to the risks consumers and to the competitive process that could happen when buying a new car.
While this study will focus on new cars, it will not consider:
- direct or parallel imports of new cars by individuals
- car financing and insurance products
- product safety
- demonstrator vehicles
- capped price servicing
Submissions are due by November 14 with a draft report expected by mid-2017 and a final report in late 2017.
The ACCC has set up an online consultation hub to help consumers and small businesses to submit their views or you can make either a written submission or complete an online questionnaire.
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