Auto torque 10th edtion

Welcome to the latest edition of Auto torque

Auto torque is NSW Fair Trading’s e-newsletter for the automotive industry.

We want to make Auto Torque relevant and interesting to you. Please send comments, suggestion or topics you wish to see covered to autotorque@services.nsw.gov.au

Introducing Fair Trading's Consumer Protection Unit

NSW Fair Trading has formed the Consumer Protection Unit as part of its continuous improvement to customer service and auditing in the market place. The unit will focus on operating in the market place where it can recognise trends, potential breaches and educate businesses about complying with their responsibilities. The unit will use market place intelligence and complaint data to identify areas within the automotive and other industries administered by Fair Trading where businesses are failing to comply with legislation.

This approach will compliment businesses which have good complaint management systems in place and operate within the appropriate legislation and it is unlikely that a Consumer Protection Officer will be visiting these businesses in the near future.

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Free industry seminars

Fair Trading continues to conduct free seminars delivering relevant and up-to-date information to the automotive industry across the State as part of MyPlace Programs.

Delivered by experienced Fair Trading Automotive Inspectors, the seminars cover a range of topics including the role of Fair Trading in dispute resolution, the role of Fair Trading Automotive Inspectors, legislative requirements relevant to the industry and the Australian Consumer Law.  

Fair Trading aims to continually improve its seminars and welcomes your feedback or suggestions.  If you think any issue or topic would be of benefit to the industry please forward your suggestion or comment to autotorque@services.nsw.gov.au

Location of MyPlace programs and seminars scheduled for the second half of 2013 include:

  • 29 July to 2 August – Batemans Bay/Ulladulla
  • 5 to 9 August – Cessnock
  • 2 to 6 September – Forbers/Parkes
  • 8 to 11 October – Liverpool
  • 4 to 8 November – Orange
  • 4 to 8 November – Gosford

To find out about upcoming Fair Trading events or to book a place check the Events register on the Fair Trading website. 

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LPG installers tradesperson certificate cancelled and licence disqualified

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal recently affirmed a Fair Trading decision to disqualify Mr Harry Giann from holding a motor vehicle repairers licence, or being involved in the direction, management or conduct of a licensed business, for a period of 3 years and to cancel Mr Gianns tradesperson certificate in class of liquefied petroleum mechanic.

In May 2012, Fair Trading commenced disciplinary action against Mr Giann under the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act 1980 after an extensive investigation revealed Mr Giann’s poor workmanship and safety issues relating to the installation of LPG systems on three motor vehicles.  Mr Giann had also failed to comply with orders of the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.  

Mr Giann sought a review in the tribunal which resulted in the decision being affirmed.  The Tribunal Member noted:

‘that given the serious safety risks presented by the applicant’s work (Mr Giann) and his unwillingness to concede fault with his work, or to acknowledge concerns for safety issues, and to concede there were safety implications with his standard of work, and given his lack of knowledge of, and compliance with, the applicable standards, then the tribunal considers that protection of consumers and the community, to ensure safety, does require the disqualification period imposed’

For further Information on this matter go to http://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/action/PJUDG?jgmtid=165282

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CTTT awards couple $17,000 for dealer's failure to disclose vehicle's South Australian history 

The Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal ordered a NSW motor dealer to pay Mr and Mrs R $17,000 for failing to disclose the history of a ute written off in South Australia, registered in NSW and then sold to them.

Purchasing the ute

Mr and Mrs R purchased a year old, commercial ute from a dealer on 30 September 2010 for $38,000.  The vehicle had been registered on 6 September 2010, 24 days before the sale.

As it was a commercial vehicle, it was sold without a warranty under the Motor Dealers Act 1974. The document (a Form 8) provided to them at the time contained a notation that:

“The vehicle is not listed on REVS as being, or ever having been, a written off or wrecked motor vehicle.”

An intended trade-in reveals the past

In early 2012, Mr and Mrs R received a written quotation from LF Motors for a $30,000 trade-in on the vehicle. However, the offer was withdrawn when LF Motors undertook a Personal Properties Security Register (PPSR) check on 31 January 2012.

On 30 January 2012, the PPSR became the single national register of security interests in personal property, replacing state-based systems of which REVS formed a part.

The PPSR check revealed that the vehicle had been involved in a collision in South Australia and was an economic repairable write-off. The check also indicated that the vehicle had been inspected in NSW on 6 September 2010.

Mr and Mrs R’s application

Mr and Mrs R then tried sell the vehicle on several occasions but failed. They lodged an application with the CTTT on 30 July 2012 seeking payment of $30,000, claiming they would not have purchased the vehicle if they had known it was a write-off because of the effect on the vehicle’s value.  As evidence, they used a letter dated 5 September 2012 from the principal of LF Motors stating that the valuation of $30,000.00 was reduced to $13,000 after the vehicle was found to be a repairable write-off.

The dealers defence

The dealer maintained that it had made no representation that the vehicle was not a repairable write-off, only that it was not registered as such in NSW. The dealer insisted that it had complied with its obligations under sections 24 and 29B of the Motor Dealers Act 1974.

The Tribunal’s findings

The Tribunal agreed that in giving the purchasers a Form 8 the dealer had complied with its statutory obligations. However, the Tribunal stated that the dealer also had a duty not to engage in conduct that was likely to mislead or deceive (the duty at the time being imposed by section 42 of the Fair Trading Act 1987 and now found in the Australian Consumer Law).

Based on the evidence, the Tribunal found that the dealer either knew or should have known of the vehicle’s origin. It also found that the dealer had engaged in conduct that was likely to mislead or deceive by failing to notify Mr and Mrs R that the vehicle was from South Australia and that a NSW REVS check would not disclose an encumbrance in that South Australia,

The Tribunal noted that although it was satisfied that the dealer had not intended to mislead or deceive, proof of such an intention was not necessary to establish liability. In addition, the Tribunal was of the view that the duty of the dealer did not extend to having to undertake a check in South Australia, but it did have an obligation to tell Mr and Mrs R so they could arrange their own checks prior to purchase. 

The Tribunal’s orders

The Tribunal determined the vehicle was worth $30,000 as a trade-in prior to the PPSR check and $13,000 afterwards based on the valuation evidence. The dealer did not dispute the valuation and, therefore, the Tribunal ordered it to pay Mr and Mrs R the sum of $17,000. 

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Auto gas safety

Fair Trading will be participating in joint programs with NSW Police and Roads & Maritime Services targeting the taxi industry.

Participation in the programs will allow Fair Trading to gather important information on safety issues within the auto gas industry and determine whether they are complying with the Consumer Safety (Gas Supply) Regulation 2012 and the applicable standards.

Fair Trading officers will inspect auto gas installations and confirm details of repairers responsible for installing or maintaining the systems.  Taxi owners and operators are defined as commercial vehicle owners under the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act 1980 and need to ensure that any installation or repairs completed to the auto gas systems on their vehicles are completed by a licensed repairer or an employee who holds the appropriate tradesperson certificate. 

If Fair Trading officers detect poor quality repairs below a usual trade standard the matter will be referred for investigation.

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