New Volvo Problems - Advice Sought

Hi OzBargain community- I am seeking some advice on a tricky situation.

I bought a brand new Volvo car in April 2019 & since its purchase it has been back to the service centre three time for repair. The issues ranged from build quality to software/engine issues which have been acknowledged by Volvo. Since its last repair (end of May) it is experiencing further issues and upon speaking to the dealer I have been asked to bring in the car for further testing/repair.

Given its been back multiple times I thought to contact Consumer Protection & ACCC to assist me with a remedy as per consumer rights. Both the organisations have been quite helpful but they have their hands tied and can't offer much apart from providing advice/conciliation.

What do you suggest I should do given Australia does have weak Lemon Car Laws?


  • You've bought it from a dealer and the dealer may not be owned directly by Volvo. They obviously don't want to absorb the cost of a lemon when it is the manufacturer's fault.

    You should approach the dealer as an ally so your dealer can act on your behalf or support your claims against the manufacturer.

    In the mean time, keep your own log of issues with the car and make sure every trip to the service centre come with notes attached.

    Failing fair compensation from manufacturer, your evidence of multiple problems and visits over such a short span, as well as the acknowledgement of the problems by their trained mechanic would make it very easy for any tribunal or court to rule in your favour.

    For the time being, just don't give up any ground. Don't ignore any problems with the car and just make sure the service centre logs every complaint and every attempt to fix.

    • Thank you for your advice. That's the exact approach I'm taking and making sure everything is in writing.

      • If you are not getting the results you want, try to bash them on social media and see if they respond. Sometimes I have had better results via twitter/facebook than I have with a company's own support channels.
        Can't guarantee any result, but worth a shot…

  • What is wrong with it? Serious or safety issue, or just something that is annoying?

    • Hi Ephemistic- I would classify them as serious issues. E.g. the rear collision warning came on (indicating there going to be a collision) and the car stopped moving. But there were no cars present on road. Then whilst I was reversing it stopped moving automatically indicating there is a car behind. Another issue was the speed wouldnt exceed 45km/h and error came up that there is an engine / system issue.

      • I've experienced similar incidents in my Volvo to your first two (though I have a 2012 V60 with only front collision warning) - there's a hill I have to approach very slowly or my collision detection goes off. I was almost rear-ended when I accidentally brake-checked other cars twice in the same spot. You'll probably find the system will be overly cautious - if it's when exiting a driveway, or when another car moves while you're reversing, it could definitely trigger it.

        The 45km/h issue sounds bad, though - did they sort it quickly?

        • They were helpful in updating the software / fixing the engine.
          But some other electrical / mechanical issues have occurred since that.
          Now they want me to bring the car back in for service.

          • @Unofficialking: I think you are being too easy OP.
            Personally I take Motor vehicle safety very seriously.
            I even go so far as to avoid ‘long-drives’.

            I may have offended some owners with my generalised comment below, but I do consider off-branch and less popular brands as all compromised, and just accept they are there to keep the market afloat & competitive.
            People spend a lot of time in cars, and you should consider your vehicle safe and reliable.
            Go purchase something with confidence.

  • Sell it while its new and be rid of it.

    You've seen how crap Volvo / dealer support network is and piss weak laws to protect you. Fighting with them is a waste of time, just dump the car and be done with it. Get a Japanese or Korean car, might be able to trade in for a Lexus RX ex demo

    • Thats' the path I might have to taken given the time & money it is going to cost me dealing with court / dealer.
      Always have had Toyota and don't know what possessed me to buy a Volvo.

      • People take things like reliability for granted, Its not as sexy as shinny infotainment.

        I've driven the new XC90, I can see why you and my mate would like it.

        You're not alone getting burned due to weak lemon laws

      • I've not had a Volvo (driven some really old boxy ones but that's a different time).

        Don't let makes and brands determine your purchase. I've had more issues with Toyota than I've had with a Ford. I'm not saying that Ford is great but the Ranger is pretty good and I must have got a dud Camry.

        Also, enthusiast cars are more likely to have reported problems. A 50 year old lady driving a Corolla isn't going to complain about every small issue short of the windows not working. A 30 year old in a Mustang is going to think a slightly canted number plate is the end of the world.

  • I bought a brand new Volvo car

    That's your first mistake

    • +2 votes

      No it's not.

      It's owned by Geely.

      Volvo, Jaguar & Landrover were owned by Ford before the GFC.

        • +5 votes

          Geely has invested a shitload of money in Volvo.

          Definitely no cost cutting by Volvo.

          • @JB1: I would still feel better with money invested in something mainstream (Toyota, VW etc).

            • @thebadmachine: Fair enough.

              I also own a VW.

              I've never bought a Toyota before, but their cars are quite good these days, Corolla, Camry, CHR. Not sure I would buy one, but they are much better than before. I've also been partial to European cars.

              • @JB1: Yes, speaking for modern day VW, even the entry-level range have most of the tech that was exclusive to top-end luxury cars in the past (Automatic windows / wipers / headlights, ESP, cruise control, Safety features such as auto-braking and parking sensors, computer monitored system so you get warnings between the gauges when a tail-light goes out, trip computer with data info etc).
                It was only a matter of time before it trickled down to the entry-level model vehicles (I’m sure Toyota can match VW in these features now).

                The important thing is they work reliably now, in an older Mercedes (think CLS) you would have problems all-the-time, but now the technology works reliably in the Golf & Corolla models.
                So just remember when you are going for something expensive & fancy, there is always a compromise, you are basically getting features which are yet to be refined and reliable. Especially if it’s electronics, you are only adding many more complicated possible points of failure.

                • @thebadmachine: Definitely agree.

                  Unfortunately if you want cutting edge technology, then you'll have to be one of the early adopters and that may mean unreliability.

                  • @JB1: And often times people are embarrassed that they spent so much money on a lemon (Mercedes CLS), so they will keep the information between them and the dealer, which means the information stays buried that these cars are lemons.

                    In OP’s case I think it’s good that they are being transparent with the issue, so others can benefit from being warned about such gremlins.
                    Note: the fact the ‘safety technology’ in OP’s case is stopping the vehicle in the middle of the road due to erroneous function is seriously worrying for safety reasons. I would take the vehicle back for an instant refund if this happened.
                    (Imagine a scenario involving a 18-wheeler or a train-crossing)

  • +4 votes

    Sorry to hear.

    Which Volvo did you get?

    We have a 2009 XC60 and a 2019 XC60.

    2009 XC60 with 150k has been pretty good overall.. a couple of issues post warranty, but it's an old car now.

    Wouldn't have bought the 2019 XC60 if the old one wasn't good.

    I'm also concerned with any new high tech car these days.. the vast majority of issues are electrical related.

    I'd be asking for full refund or replacement. Have you spoke to Volvo customer support? Write to the CEO expressing your concerns and ask for a refund or replacement. Otherwise consumer affairs can assist.

    • Thanks JB1, I bought 2019 XC40. I used to have old XC60 & it was terrific but the issues with the new car are disheartening.
      Tried refund/replacement remedy via consumer affairs but was shot down by the dealer. Customer Support have been referring me back to dealer.
      Might send an email to the CEO and hope for the best alternatively take legal action against the manufacturer.

      • +1 vote

        That's a shame. The XC40 seems like a great car, but like any car, I wouldn't buy the 1st year model due to bugs.

        Don't email the CEO, write him or her. Emails are more likely to be dismissed. Good luck.

      • Oh I thought from your previous comment you had only owned Toyota.
        It makes more sense now, how you ended up with a new model Volvo.

  • That's a shame to hear. We are on our second generation of volvo after purchasing our 2018 XC60 and (touch wood) haven't had any issue with either of them.

    The tech in the new one is pretty epic.

    Anyway - like the others have said, you'll need to get the importer / factory involved to get the result you're after. Back in my early days I worked for a Land Rover dealership and we had a customer who consistent problems on their discovery. The dealer was reluctant to do more than trying to fix/mask the problem. However, after getting the factory involved - they insisted on a full refund.

    The manufacturer are more concerned about their brand image then the dealer will be.

    • I've been cc'ing the national office & headquarters in all emails to the dealer. But neither of them have been helpful.

    • It's the tech that screws up the reliability of new cars now a days.

      Manufacturers trying to pump out the latest and greatest without testing enough.

      Probably why Lexus is so behind in their electronics.

  • OP don't have a Volvo but maybe try another dealer?

    I had bad run with my Kia Dealer and went to another dealer and they've been great.

  • Choice were working on a campaign for lemon car laws.

  • IMO. If you want to take the refund route you will need to go to a lawyer experienced in these consumer car claims. Start with a letter from them to dealer/manufacturers noting all issues and that you want a refund/compensation. Ask lawyer for all costs from initial letter and taking it further.

    We had an 2011 XC60 for about 6 years. -3 rear cameras. Rear brake light continually failed. Windscreen leaked.

  • Manufactures will buy cars back, I know of it happening with other brands, unsure if Volvo have done it. The random braking is definately very dangerous, I sure wouldn't be driving it.

  • Additionally, check the Choice website.

    They are inviting stories related to this very issue with a view to applying pressure for reforms (ie proper Lemon Laws like the US).

  • In China a women got a lemon Merc cls. Surf to this heading “Chinese woman’s tearful protest on Mercedes hood goes viral — and gets results”. I don’t know how to use link on ozbargain.

  • Thank you all for your guidance & comments. I am waiting for Consumer Affairs to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Failing that i will commence legal proceedings against the dealer / Volvo.

    • how did you go with your repair?

      • Left the car with the dealer for over a week & given the issues didn't occur while the car was with them- they refused to admit any liability. They simply reset the fault codes & told me to go on my merry way.
        Consumer Protection / ACCC was of no help & I was suggested to take legal action but with caution that they (Volvo) are a company & have abundant resources to spend on a lawyer.

  • Merged from Advice Needed Lemon Car

    I am at crossroads and thought to reach out to OZB community to ascertain pros and cons of the potential course of action.
    I bought a new car for $65k (under novated lease) about 6 months ago. Since the purchase, the car has had multiple faults & has been to service department over 6 times. Some faults are new & some are recurrent (all documented to have occurred).
    I spoke to dealer & car manufacturer to ascertain the next course of action as more faults have come about. Both of them refused to offer remedy in form of buy back / replacement & said that all they can offer is repairs under T&Cs. I have been to consumer protection agency & ACCC and I was advised that they can’t enforce a decision on the car manufacturer/dealer and to take legal action. Legal action will come at a cost & potential risk that I might loose the case. I was wondering if OZB community members have gone through a similar ordeal and could possibly provide me with some suggestions/advice please.

    • Obviously you need to name the car make and model


      Last post was 3 months ago from you. Seems like you haven't progressed any further, legal action is your same recourse

    • Was your one built in Malaysia or China?

      • China I think but will have to re-check.

        • The old Swedish luxury car made in China trick, sorry for all the stress your going thru, hope it gets resolved for you mate.
          For me if your going persist with euro cars$$$, I’d buy one built in Germany or Austria.

    • don't think lemon law is applicable here

      you can try to make a fuss at their social media, etc. to bring attention to upper management

      yours not made in china right ? they just started production there this year

      • Have called their Sweden Head Office but again no luck.
        Was thinking of creating a page on social media- might give that a go too.
        I am pretty sure it’s made in China as I purchased the car this year.

        • so no more Belgium made for XC40 from now on? what a shame, really liked the design of XC40

    • Have you read their t and cs?

    • Sorry to hear OP. Have you had the car evaluated by an independent party/expert? Might also help if you set up front and rear dash cams and a GoPro or two inside the car to capture the issues in real-time. Then you can make a compilation highlighting the safety concerns especially and hand a copy to the dealership. Also do let them know in writing that you'll be taking legal action if it's not resolved by a certain date and if some serious accident occurs as a result of the faults with the car it's on them. Absolutely ridiculous that they have been dragging this all this time especially given the obvious safety concerns. Also came across this the other day thought it might be of help Good luck champ here's hoping they do the right thing and sort it out.

      • Thanks Dins, will consider making video of the issues. Have already sent an email mentioning about safety aspect & threatened legal action. But it made negligible impact on them.

    • Op, you know what you have to do.

    • I don’t know really how it works, but as the vehicle is under a novated lease does it not mean that it actually belongs to the lease company and you are renting it from them? Perhaps this is another angle to work with. Check the fine print on the lease, maybe they can help you out. Ie stop paying lease payments because they are not providing a suitable vehicle and have them take it back and provide you with a suitable vehicle.

      • This is exactly I am thinking too.

        BTW, novated lease would be a commercial deal between the leasing company and the car manufacturer. This would mean that your remedies under the consumer protection laws may be limited. This is one of the reasons why things bought through commercial arrangements, with ABN, etc costs less. I once bought a car with finance, which required me to say that I have an ABN, which got me a substantial discount. I had to accept reduced consumer rights conditions in the finance contract.

      • Good idea, will give it a go.

        • Work along the idea that they are providing you a service that they are not fulfilling.

          I don’t get the idea of a lease where you pay a bunch of money for a vehicle and servicing and then you have to do all the running round when something goes wrong.

    • As it's the same issue / same car. Please use the original thread.

      Post merged.

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