Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:11

Dr Michael Schaper, Deputy Chair of the ACCC and Stephen Moir CEO of MTA WA Dr Michael Schaper, Deputy Chair of the ACCC and Stephen Moir CEO of MTA WA

The MTA WA held a national first event, giving West Australian franchise dealers the opportunity to meet Dr Michael Schaper, Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Over 90 franchise dealers took the opportunity to put their questions to Dr Schaper and hear from him on the Market Study into New Car Retailing.

Dr Schaper was refreshingly frank and thoughtful in his presentation and responses to dealer's questions. 

From the floor the majority of questions were on how new car sales are measured, the impact this has on dealers and how its skews regulators view of the industry's transactions.  Another area widely discussed was the inequitiable relationship between dealers and manufacturers.

Questions provide with notice from members were also addressed.  They included:

1. Lemon Laws

The ACL was introduced in 2010 and provides extensive coverage for consumers experiencing issues with a vehicle. Given the power of the ACL to address consumer complaints, why continue to look at lemon laws.

2. Service History

We are seeing motor vehicle manufacturers now wanting to gather servicing and repair history on vehicles up to 4 years in the past. The claim is that this vehicle/consumer history will assist manufacturers in improving or creating more efficient programs for consumers. Because this information will be used in relationship to a product they have purchased (vehicle), does the privacy act become irrelevant. Are manufacturers allowed to sell this gathered information onto a third party without each owners consent?

Michael Divirgilio of the DVG Group questions Dr Schaper

3. Major v Minor Faults

The ACL is lacking in its definition to assist both retailers and consumers to clearly understand what constitutes a minor or major fault and there are now a number of instances where the consumer is making the determination and insisting a full refund or replacement. With the ACL under review, is it the intention to provide greater clarity in definitions to assist all parties in this issue?

4. Manufacturers

Dealers are being held to ransom by their manufacturers/distributors in relation to allowable rates and times in which to undertake claims under warranty with dealers meeting their obligations under the ACL only to have to fight it out with manufacturers to be compensated for the work. Is there something that can be done to compel manufacturers to deal transparently and fairly with the dealers when dealing with claims?

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