Consumers are invited to share information to support a study into the purchasing of new cars.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released an issues paper for the new car retailing industry market study announced in June this year, providing detailed information on the scope of the study and how interested parties can participate.

“A new car is one of the most significant purchases that a consumer will make and issues with these purchases can have a significant financial consequence,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The ACCC and other Australian Consumer Law agencies continue to receive a high volume of complaints from consumers about new cars and this market study will help identify any systemic issues across the sector.”

The market study will review industry practices in the sector to assist in identifying risks to consumers and the competitive process. The key issues to be covered by the study include:

  • compliance with consumer guarantees obligations and the ability of consumers to enforce their rights
  • interaction between consumer guarantees, manufacturer’s warranties and dealer’s extended warranties
  • the effect on competition and on consumers of post-sale service arrangements (such as servicing and repair)
  • availability and access to repair and service information and data for new cars.
  • false, misleading and deceptive practices in fuel consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, noxious emissions and car performance

The study is also exploring buying behaviours and expectations of consumers purchasing new cars, in addition to the structure and operations of the new car retailing industry.

“The ACCC would like to determine if car manufacturers and dealers understand their consumer guarantee obligations, and whether consumers are able to exercise their rights,” Mr Sims said.

“The representations made to consumers about fuel consumption and emissions are another key issue, as are issues around regular servicing and repairs and the ability of independent repairers to access repair and service data.

“This issues paper will assist people in identifying and alerting the ACCC to risks to consumers and the competitive process that may occur when buying a new car.”

The ACCC will be seeking information from the public. Submissions are invited until 14 November 2016. The ACCC expects to release a draft report for comment in mid-2017 before publishing a final report in late 2017.

The issues paper and further information on the market study is available at: New car retailing industry market study.

Main picture caption: Rod Sims, Chairman of ACCC (images courtesy of ACCC)