The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Mazda Australia.
Australia’s consumer watchdog alleges Mazda engaged in unconscionable conduct and made false or misleading representations in its dealings with consumers who bought one of seven new Mazda vehicles between 2013 and 2017.
Affected models include the Mazda 2, Mazda 6, Mazda CX-5, Mazda CX-3 and Mazda BT-50.
The ACCC alleges that consumers began experiencing faults with their vehicles within a year or two of purchase. The faults affected the ability of the consumers to use their vehicles; and in some cases, the vehicles were unexpectedly losing power and decelerating while they were being driven.
Vehicles were presented to Mazda dealers for repeated repairs, including multiple engine replacements with one vehicle was off the road for four months within a six month period.
“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.
“In short, our case is that Mazda gave these consumers the ‘run around’ while denying their consumer guarantee rights.”
The ACCC also alleges that the consumers were forced to contact Mazda multiple times over months and even years, as they continued to experience the faults with their vehicles. The consumers requested a refund or replacement vehicle from Mazda on multiple occasions, but those 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 the consumers to accept offers that were less than what they were entitled to. The company 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.
“Consumers do not have to make any financial contribution to receive the remedies they are entitled to under the Australian Consumer Law,” Mr Sims said.
“The ACCC remains alarmed about the barrage of issues consumers face when they attempt to exercise their consumer rights because there is a problem with a new vehicle they have purchased.”
"The new car industry is squarely on notice of our concerns. We will continue to take action against vehicle manufacturers and suppliers that fail to provide remedies to consumers who are entitled to them especially those who have bought vehicles with major failures,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC is seeking penalties, declarations, injunctions, consumer redress, a publication order, an order requiring the implementation of a compliance program and costs.
More: All News