ATTWOOD Marshall Lawyers say new ‘lemon laws’ to be introduced to State Parliament today to protect Queenslanders if they buy a faulty car are “long overdue”.
Queensland motorists who buy a faulty car will be able to take sellers to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for damages increased from $25,000 to $100,000.
The proposed legislation would also see the reintroduction of a statutory warranty for second hand car purchases.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers’ commercial litigation solicitor Georgia Taylor said “proposed lemon laws would allow drivers to be compensated more fairly for their losses”.
This week, the firm launched No Win, No Fee, legal proceedings against a major car dealer in the Coolangatta Magistrate’s Court, for a man who purchased a work ute for $21,000.00. It broke down completely, leaving the man with no vehicle for nine months.
“Cars are expensive to buy and maintain, and we know the burden of having a new vehicle breaking down can take an emotional toll and create job-stress for someone relying on their car for business,” Ms Taylor said.
“Under current legislation, a person who has purchased a new car that’s broken down can only try to claim $25,000 in damages against a manufacturer through QCAT.
“In most cases, this amount is nowhere near the cost to replace a faulty vehicle, to keep up with interest on a car loan, while taking on the burden of car hire expenses.
“The only other option – most appropriate for buyers of faulty luxury cars – is to sue the car dealer in the Magistrate or District Courts, under the Competition and Consumer Act (2010).
“For claims under $150,000, a civil claim can be lodged in the Local Magistrate Courts, and anything up to $750,000.00 in damages can be pleaded to the Queensland District Court.
“Lemon laws are long overdue.
“Lemon laws would enable motorists to apply through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, for an increased damages amount from $25,000 to $100,000, saving motorists from attending court and associated legal fees.”
Ms Taylor welcomed the reinstatement of warranty protection for used cars, which would mean there would be a requirement for motor dealers to provide a warranty for cars older than 10 years or that have clocked up more than 160,000km.
Lemon laws follow a parliamentary inquiry in 2015 and lobbying by industry groups and will be introduced to State Parliament on November 15 by Queensland Attorney General Yvette D’Ath.
“A broken down car is financially devastating, and legal action to pursue dealers for a dud car can be unfairly expensive, so it is great to see the Queensland Government taking steps to give car buyers security when they are purchasing such expensive assets,” Ms Taylor said.
Ms Taylor said motorists with a faulty vehicle were advised to take the following steps:
5 Steps: What to do if you have a faulty car
- Contact the dealer
- Contact your insurer for additional support
- Keep detailed time notes and any correspondence with the motor dealer
- Keep a detailed record of your costs/ losses
- Get legal advice
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