Queensland Calls for Stronger Lemon Laws

Media release from Attorney General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath. 

The Palaszczuk Government is calling on the Federal Government and other states and territories to back further development of improved consumer laws, going into this week’s Consumer Affairs Forum.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said Australian Consumer Law had undergone significant review. Last year Queensland was successful in getting the issue of “Lemon Laws” – relating to faulty new motor vehicles – to form part of the review.

“The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) review report recommended a proposal to strengthen consumer protections so that when goods fail to comply with consumer guarantees within a short specified period of time, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement without needing to prove a ‘major’ failure,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“In addition, it also recommended that that multiple non-major failures can equate to a ‘major’ failure.

“Although these recommendations are for general consumer protections for various goods, the introduction of these changes would provide improved protections for buyers of new motor vehicles and caravans.

“We know that aside from buying a home, a new car can be one of the largest purchases a family can make and when things go wrong with these purchases, it’s critical that families have access to justice,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“That’s why our Government has put lemon vehicles on the national agenda – to give people a fair go when things go wrong with a new car.

“We’re doing the work at a state level, but we need national changes too. This is why we are calling on the Commonwealth and other states to support the recommendations of the ACL review.”

Mrs D’Ath said if the recommendations were supported at the Consumer Affairs Forum later this week, these amendments would be progressed for further regulatory assessment.

“We want to make it clearer and easier to establish a major failure in a vehicle, so that when a new motor vehicle fails to meet the consumer’s guarantees, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement,” Mrs D’Ath said.

Consumer advocate Ashton Wood said this issue needed to be put on the national agenda as soon as possible.

In 2014, Mr Wood publically destroyed his Jeep, after it suffered 22 faults in four years. He has also become an advocate for others who experience problems with their new cars, and has helped hundreds of car owners get replacements, financial settlements or repairs.

“Many people come to me in tears after trying everything to get a permanent resolution,” Mr Wood said.

“We need clearer laws that ensure consumers get what they pay for when it comes to motor vehicles, or their money back.

“A ‘Lemon Law’ would ensure that buyers like myself get a refund or replacement instead of getting trapped in the endless cycle of repairs.

“I’d like to thank the Attorney-General of Queensland for putting this on the national agenda and I look forward to seeing the other states adopt this initiative for the benefit of consumers across the country.”

Mrs D’Ath said national support was needed in order to make change to the Australian Consumer Law.

“These are the first steps in getting fairer laws for Queensland consumers,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“There is more to do – but we are determined to get it done.”


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