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New Queensland lemon laws introduced to protect buyers

From September 1 this year, new-vehicle buyers in Queensland will be protected by specific laws to prevent buying a lemon.

Queensland will be the first state in Australia to implement explicit ‘lemon laws’ that will give buyers more protection when purchasing new and used vehicles.

Passed in state parliament in April and coming into effect from September 1, 2019, the level of claims able to be handled by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) will lift from $25,000 to $100,000 – covering a wider breadth of new-vehicle purchases.

Laws protecting motorists who purchase a second-hand vehicle more than 10 years old, or with 160,000km on the odometer, will also be restored, covering 30 days or 1000km after the sale.

The reinstated law runs alongside the existing three month/5000 kilometre automatic warranty for used-hand vehicles purchases from a dealer that are less than 10 years old and have travelled less than 160,000km.

Queensland parliament attorney general and minister for justice Yvette D’Ath said: “These measures will build levels of trust in the industry and benefit the majority of motor dealers who are doing the right thing by offering best practice in terms of refunds, replacements and repairs at no cost, when a vehicle is faulty.

“When you invest in a car or a caravan, you don’t expect it to be off the road for a lengthy period with all the stress and inconvenience that can cause.

“Consumers are entitled to a refund if a product has a major failure of the consumer guarantees.

“It is important that consumers are able to have their matter heard through a court or tribunal.

“QCAT provides an easier and less expensive avenue to resolve legal disputes, so this reform will enable more buyers to enforce their rights without the need to go to court.”

Though there is no explicit, national protection for new-car buyers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) states a vehicle purchase falls under Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

As such, if the new vehicle is not fit for purpose, is not of acceptable quality or has a failure, then customers can be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund.

Should more lemon laws be introduced around Australia? Tell us what you think in the comments below.