Come on, that’s got to make you take up the $1 a day sub to this great paper and online offering including The Wall Street Journal, The Times cryptic crossword and the chance to be one of the lucky few to go on the exclusive WART guided tour of Adelaide with the legend himself, Michael McMichael (so good they named him twice), yours truly and whoever else we can drag along.
The tour includes, but is not limited to, an early morning sharpener at the Kensi with a one-off look at the Corner Bar, your choice of music from the Nightlife Video Jukebox and a possible (but highly unlikely) meet and greet with Prince Harry and Meghan and Tassie’s Princess Mary and Prince Fred (he is not from Tassie) in the appropriately named King’s function room, a personal walk through Michael McMichael Motors with a sitting experience in our rally and LeMons cars (normal disclaimer as to your health and safety required), a peregrination through Dr Cooper’s brewery and, if enough alcohol is involved, a personal nude portrait by the old master himself.
As you have been reading here and other places, new car buyers are getting stuck with lemons and dealers and manufacturers are doing all they can to convince owners they are the problem. Under the leadership of the car consumers’ only friend, ACCC boss Rocket Rod Simms, last year the watchdog released the results of an 18-month study into the new car retailing industry (www.accc. gov.au). It ain’t pretty.
Some key points: dealers are being squeezed by manufacturers; car manufacturers and dealers discount new car prices to maximise sales of aftermarket services; and although parts sales and repair and service account for 15 per cent of revenue, they contribute 49 per cent of gross profit. And consumers are not receiving adequate information about consumer guarantees at the point of sale of a new car. The information provided is generally very limited and is usually not provided in a form consumers can retain, and refer to later.
So, in a nutshell, you have the same rights when you buy a new car as when you buy a new toaster. If the toaster is a dud you can legally ask for a refund, replacement or repair. With cars, the dealer and manufacturer will try to pressure you into a repair.
Leading the charge for lemonised buyers is the Joan of Arc of Rocket Rod’s outfit, commissioner Sarah Court. In an exclusive interview Sarah told me the ACCC had released a new pamphlet (Just Bought A New Car) on consumer rights that it wants included in the information packet you get from the dealers on purchase. You need to download this from the ACCC website before you even think of buying a car.
Sarah says you have two guarantees to rely on when you buy a new car: manufacturer and extended warranties, and consumer guarantees, which are your rights under the Australian Consumer Law that cannot be restricted or excluded. In fact, they can apply even if your car is out of warranty. If your car has a major failure (it’s not fit for purpose) you can return it and choose repair, replacement or refund. I know a lot of readers with a dud are reluctant to take big car companies on.
“The only way there will be a legal battle is if the consumer instigates one,” Sarah told me. “A big company is not going to come and sue a consumer for raising an issue. They’re not people to be scared of.”
Here’s the best way to handle things if you have landed a lemon: take notes of all your conversations with the dealer and manufacturer. Continually email complaints to the dealer and to the manufacturer. Ask to speak to someone further up the line.
When you’ve had enough, clearly advise the dealer you intend to reject the car and explain why. There are templates for this on the ACCC website. Copy the CEO of the manufacturer and the ACCC. Go to the Fair Trading Agency in your state and also report it to the ACCC. Most of all, persevere.
“If you are not satisfied the first time go back and go back again,” Sarah says.
Talking of dud cars, Dano pulled out of the Mona F1 last Sunday after 23 laps with clutch issues but his Renault engine has been incredibly bad. As team boss Christian Horner said: “We pay multi-millions of pounds for these engines and for first-class, or state-of-the-art product, and you can see it’s quite clearly some way below that.”
Or as Maxie V said: “I don’t care if this f..king engine blows up. What a f..king joke, all the f..king time. Honestly. Argh.” On Sunday Kimi was on pole, Hamo slipstreamed Seb, passed him, Seb ran into Hamo and spun, Mercedes killed Ferrari on the pit-stop strategy, with eight laps to go Hamo passed Seb at 355km/h and killed the hopes of 60 million Italians.
Next week details on the attempt to break the Guinness world record of 250 cars on a track, with more than 1250 drivers at the 24 hours of LeMons at Tailem Bend and results of your WART efforts at Steve Shelley’s Marulan four-hour race. Today a pic of a rare, white-over-red 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder with 479km on the clock at this month’s Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction.