Man Fails in Bid for $40,000 Car Refund over Dodgy Satnav
Last edited 13/03/2018 - 23:52
A driver who sought a full refund for a $40,000 car because it came with a dodgy satellite navigation system has been told by a tribunal he deserved only the price of a street directory.
and VCAT's summary:
GPS system in a passenger vehicle unreliable in some areas due to deficiencies in mapping data – the GPS hardware not defective – Australian Consumer Law section 54 acceptable quality – section 262(2) rejection period – consumer guarantee not breached – had damages been awarded, mitigation would have been highly relevant.
OK, on the face of it sounds like a ridiculous story as why not just buy a GPS unit or ignore that it doesn't work in small pocket of Victoria. However, what it does make a bit clearer is consumer law in relation to what constitutes a major issue vs. a minor issue. From the ACCC:
You can ask a business for your preference of a free repair, replacement or refund, but you are not always entitled to one….If you have a minor problem with a product or service, the business can choose to give you a free repair instead of a replacement or refund. When you have a major problem with a product, you have the right to ask for your choice of a replacement or refund. For a major problem with a service, you can choose to receive compensation for the drop in value below the price paid, or a refund.
A major problem is defined as when:
A product or good has a major problem when:
it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
it is unsafe
it is significantly different from the sample or description
it doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed.
In this case, the argument put forth is that the consumer wouldn't have bought the car if they had known about the GPS issues. Repairs were done but didn't fix specific issues within the GPS unit.
section 262(2) rejection period
(2) The rejection period for goods is the period from the time of the supply of the goods to the consumer within which it would be reasonable to expect the relevant failure to comply with a guarantee referred to in section 259(1)(b) to become apparent having regard to:
(a) the type of goods; and
(b) the use to which a consumer is likely to put them; and
(c) the length of time for which it is reasonable for them to be used; and
(d) the amount of use to which it is reasonable for them to be put before such a failure becomes apparent.
The other deciding factor was asking for a refund after 2 years of use and 60,000km of driving.
So in this case, no refunds for a car if a small portion of a non-essential feature of a car doesn't function correctly. An example given in the case, was the radio which may not have reception in certain areas. But it poses an interesting question, if the radio or GPS or another part doesn't function at all even after repairs, does this give the consumer a right to refund?