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Guarantees and warranties for new vehicles

Consumer protections for new car buyers increased from 1 September 2019.

From this date, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal's (QCAT) jurisdictional limit was raised to $100,000 for matters involving faulty vehicles. Visit QCAT's website for further information.

The law automatically gives consumers rights when they buy goods, including new vehicles. These rights are called consumer guarantees.

Consumer guarantees apply in addition to any other warranty you or the manufacturer give. Consumer guarantees apply to all vehicles and trailers, regardless of price.

There are 9 consumer guarantees for goods, which ensure goods are of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and accurately described.

Read more about consumer guarantees for goods.

If a vehicle fails to meet a consumer guarantee, you must remedy the problem. This might be by repairing the vehicle, or giving a refund or replacement.

Major failure

If the failure to meet a consumer guarantee is major, the consumer can choose which remedy they would like, including a full refund or an exchange.

A major failure to comply with a consumer guarantee could be any of the following:

  • A reasonable consumer never would have bought the car if they had known about the problem (or series of problems). For example, a reasonable consumer would not buy a new car with a fault that several mechanics could not fix. A reasonable consumer would not buy a new car if it had so many faults that the car has spent more time off the road than on it.
  • The vehicle is significantly different from the description, sample or demonstration model shown to the consumer. For example, a consumer orders a vehicle with a diesel engine after test-driving the demonstration model, but the vehicle delivered has a petrol engine.
  • The vehicle is substantially unfit for its normal purpose and can’t be made fit within a reasonable time.
  • The vehicle is substantially unfit for a purpose the consumer told you they needed it for.
  • The vehicle is broken and can’t be easily repaired.
  • The vehicle’s problems make it dangerous to drive.

Anything not considered a major failure is a minor failure.

Minor failure

If the failure to meet a consumer guarantee is minor, you must still remedy the problem, but you get to choose which remedy to give.

A minor failure to comply with a consumer guarantee is when the problem:

  • does not interfere with the normal operation of the vehicle
  • can be fixed quickly, for example by replacing or repairing a faulty part.

Find out more about motor vehicle sales and repairs (PDF, 311KB)

Fixing the problem

It is your responsibility, as the motor dealer who sold the vehicle to the consumer, to remedy any problems. You can’t simply refer the consumer to the manufacturer.

If you are left out-of-pocket by remedying a problem for a consumer, you in turn may claim your costs back from the manufacturer.

You do not have to provide a remedy if the ‘rejection period’ has passed. This is the period, starting when the consumer purchases the vehicle, during which it would be reasonable to expect a problem to appear.

In determining the rejection period, the type of vehicle and the way in which a consumer might use it must be considered.