ACCC taking Mazda to court for “unconscionable conduct”

ByIsaac BoberOctober 31, 2019
ACCC taking Mazda to court for “unconscionable conduct”

The ACCC has initiated legal proceedings against Mazda Australia for alleged “unconscionable conduct […] and false or misleading representations” to car buyers.

Mazda Australia is being taken to court by the ACCC which alleges the Japanese car maker’s Australia arm, “engaged in unconscionable conduct and made false or misleading representations in its dealings with consumers who bought one of seven new Mazda vehicles between 2013 and 2017”.

The vehicles purchased range from Mazda 2, to CX-5 and BT-50. In a statement, the ACCC said, “The ACCC alleges that these consumers began experiencing faults with their vehicles within a year or two of purchase. The faults affected the ability of the consumers to use their vehicles; and in some cases, included the vehicles unexpectedly losing power and decelerating while they were being driven.

“The vehicles were taken to Mazda dealers for repeated repairs, including multiple engine replacements. One vehicle was off the road for four months within a six-month period.”

According to the chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims, Mazda Australia refused to refund or replace at no cost to the consumer, “and pressured them to accept lesser offers which were made by Mazda only after multiple failures of the vehicles and repeated attempted repairs”.

“In short, our case is that Mazda gave these consumers the ‘run around’ while denying their consumer guarantee rights,” he said.

“Despite the consumers repeatedly asking Mazda for a refund or replacement vehicle, and enduring multiple unsuccessful repair attempts, we allege that Mazda told these consumers that their only available remedy was yet another repair,” Mr Sims added.

“If a vehicle cannot be repaired within a reasonable time or at all, consumers have a right under the Australian Consumer Law to a refund or replacement, and manufacturers cannot refuse these claims.”

The ACCC alleges that after repeated attempted repairs, Mazda pressured the consumers to accept offers that were less than what they were entitled to. Mazda offered to refund only a portion of the car’s purchase price or offered to provide a replacement car if the consumer made a significant payment. In one case, Mazda’s offer was limited to an extended warranty and free service of the vehicle.

“Consumers do not have to make any financial contribution to receive the remedies they are entitled to under the Australian Consumer Law,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC remains alarmed about the barrage of issues consumers face when they attempt to exercise their consumer rights because there is a problem with a new vehicle they have purchased.”

“The new car industry is squarely on notice of our concerns. We will continue to take action against vehicle manufacturers and suppliers that fail to provide remedies to consumers who are entitled to them especially those who have bought vehicles with major failures,” Mr Sims said.