New car complaints

Is your car a lemon?
Complaints about new cars to consumer or fair trading departments throughout Australia are regularly in the top 10 most common types of complaints.

Sometimes there is a slew of complaints about one make of vehicle and other times they seem to be "one-off" type complaints which are not necessarily a reflection of the particular make/brand, just a problem with that particular car. We don't have the expertise or the information from the relevant departments to tell you which is which. But we can pass on to you examples of complaints we’ve received, 2 of which are set out below. These complaints also show the difficulty in getting such problems resolved.

We would love to hear from you if you have had problems with a new car, notwithstanding that it may be a few years old before the problem arises. Now this is an important point. Just because the factory warranty may be limited to 3 years, does not mean that you are precluded from making a claim after the warranty expires (this is discussed in our article about extended warranties) Just make a comment below or, preferably, submit a complaint.

Russell Wheeler
CEO and Consumer Advocate

Complaints in focus
 Jeep Cherokee
We purchased a brand new Jeep Cherokee Limited for just over $49,000 in July 2010. Within the first 14 months it had incurred 9 issues, 3 of which rendered it un-drivable. We escalated to the dealer, but he was not helpful, so we approached the Importer, Fiat Chysler Group Australia. They were also unwilling to replace the defective vehicle or refund our money. We escalated to the Office of Fair Trading, but they are unable to enforce a decision and suggested we take legal action. In all, there were 22 problems, 5 of which rendered the vehicle un-driveable. We were not comfortable with selling our lemon onto someone else, so we decided to destroy it instead. We wish BuyersVoice had been there in 2010 to warn us off getting this vehicle.
Volvo XC60
After doing only 45,000 km and being only 4 years old (one year out of warranty), the differential needed replacing. This shouldn’t happen on any car, let alone one which is supposed to be of high quality. The quoted cost was approximately $6500. When I asked them to pay for it, Volvo said that parts on a car can fail at any time regardless of the distance that it's travelled and that they would not take responsibility for the repair. Eventually, after many heated discussions, they covered the majority of the cost but I still had to pay $1800.
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