Thursday, 08 October 2015 16:15

VW vehicle recall not good enough, says CHOICE


Consumer advocacy group CHOICE says that consumers affected by Volkswagen’s emissions scandal should be made aware of their rights under Australian law to a refund or replacement vehicle.

The German car maker says that affected VW, Audi and Skoda models will be recalled and has launched a website enabling consumers to identify whether their car has the EA189 diesel engine designed to cheat emissions tests.

But CHOICE is not satisfied with the vehicle recall.

“Volkswagen says they’ll develop a ‘technical solution’ to fix the engines but our concern is that this will be in the form of a software patch that fixes emissions by reducing the cars’ performance,” says Matt Levey, CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications.

“This response is likely to be unsatisfactory for many car owners.”

According to Levey under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers are entitled to a refund or replacement if a product has a major failure and the consumer wouldn’t have bought the product if they’d known about the problem.

“If the car’s performance is substantially altered then the problem with Volkswagen’s engine could be considered a major failure according to Australian Consumer Law,” Levey says.

“If the cars can’t be repaired without reducing their performance, consumers should consider exercising their rights to a refund or a replacement.”

Levey says CHOICE members affected by the VW issue can contact its expert consumer rights adviser for assistance with a complaint through the CHOICE Help service.”

CHOICE is urging VW and other car manufacturers to offer redress for Australians affected by the scandal and says consumers can sign up to its Come Clean campaign. To access the campaign click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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