Better protection and information for car buyers

New car buyers should be given greater consumer protections, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) final report into the car retail industry.

The report looked at issues surrounding consumer guarantees, fuel consumption and access to repair and service information by repairers.

RACQ’s Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said one of the ACCC’s recommendations was to improve fuel consumption tests, both in the laboratory and in real world conditions to better reflect actual on-road fuel consumption.

“This is something the Australian Automobile Association, which represents the motoring clubs, has been fighting for, for a number of years,” Mr Spalding said.

“Consumers are also set to have more information at their fingertips about how much fuel their car will use and its emissions, thanks to a proposed improvement in labels. There’s even a possibility a star rating system could be adopted, where, similar to appliances, consumers will be able to easily compare different models.”

Mr Spalding said the ACCC report also recommended mandating the sharing of technical information between car manufacturers and independent retailers.

“This would give repairers real time access to the same environmental, safety and security-related technical information dealers have,” he said.

“This is something RACQ has been calling for – it’s not fair independent repairers are at a disadvantage because a wall is put up by car manufacturers.”

Mr Spalding said the report also made recommendations around consumer protections.

“The report recommended changes to Australian Consumer Law to give greater clarity about when they’re entitled to a refund or replacement,” he said.

“It also called for improvements to complaint handling systems and the way manufacturers approach consumer guarantee claims.”