Mazda is being taken to Australia’s Federal Court after allegedly engaging in “unconscionable conduct” and making “false or misleading representations in its dealings with consumers” who bought new vehicles between 2013 and 2017.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this morning started proceedings against the car giant, alleging they pressured owners of faulty Mazda vehicles to accept offers that were less than what they were entitled to.
According to the watchdog, consumers allegedly began experiencing faults with their vehicles within a year or two of purchase.
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“The faults affected the ability of the consumers to use their vehicles; and in some cases, included the vehicles unexpectedly losing power and decelerating while they were being driven,” the ACCC said.
“We allege that Mazda repeatedly refused to provide a refund or a replacement at no cost to the consumers and pressured them to accept lesser offers which were made by Mazda only after multiple failures of the vehicles and repeated attempted repairs,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
It’s also alleged that consumers were forced to contact Mazda multiple times over months and even years, as they continued to experience the faults with their vehicles.
According to Mr Sims, “the consumers requested a refund or replacement vehicle from Mazda on multiple occasions, but these requests were denied.”
“Despite the consumers repeatedly asking Mazda for a refund or replacement vehicle, and enduring multiple unsuccessful repair attempts, we allege that Mazda told these consumers that their only available remedy was yet another repair,” Mr Sims said.
“If a vehicle cannot be repaired within a reasonable time or at all, consumers have a right under the Australian Consumer Law to a refund or replacement, and manufacturers cannot refuse these claims.”
The ACCC alleges that after repeated attempted repairs, Mazda pressured owners to accept offers that were less than what they were entitled to.
“Mazda offered to refund only a portion of the car’s purchase price, or offered to provide a replacement car if the consumer made a significant payment. In one case, Mazda’s offer was limited to an extended warranty and free service of the vehicle,” Mr Sims said.
“Consumers do not have to make any financial contribution to receive the remedies they are entitled to under the Australian Consumer Law.”
The ACCC is seeking penalties, declarations, injunctions, consumer redress, a publication order, an order requiring the implementation of a compliance program and costs.