Victoria first to adopt 'Lemon Laws'

Victorian motorists could be the first in Australia to benefit from new ‘lemon laws’ to be implemented shortly by the State Government. These laws, although commonplace in many other countries (including parts of the US and Canada), have yet to make it to Australia leaving many of us feeling it is long overdue.
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Under the proposed new laws, motorists who purchase vehicles that suffer repeated repairs on the same component, or endure a vehicle which is susceptible to the failure of numerous components over a set period of time, will be entitled to an exchange vehicle or full refund.

A problem must occur within a set time frame from purchase, which is yet to be determined, with the overall aim of the new laws being to limit the chance of a manufacturer repairing the vehicle repeatedly until the end of the warranty period, by which time the repair costs are then at the onus of owner.

It is believed, at this stage, the laws will only apply to personal buyers and the scope of the laws mean circumstances will alter depending on the severity of the problem. For example, if the nature of the fault directly affects a safety aspect of the vehicle, the manufacturer will have two chances to get it right. Should the problem be of lesser consequence, they may be afforded three or four chances to sort it out.

Lemon Laws also prevent the re-sale of dud vehicles without a disclosure of history to the new buyer.

Exact terms of the proposed laws and their passing by parliament have yet to evolve, but Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson agrees that in all, it’s a step in the right direction and anyone (myself included) who has had to battle a big manufacturer to get what they paid for, will welcome the move whole-heartedly.

As always if you have any concerns or issues with your new vehicle, CarAdvice wishes to hear from you through the ‘Warranty Complaints’ tab at the top of the home page.