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ACCC takes Mazda to court over alleged misconduct

Foul play: The ACCC is alleging Mazda Australia has denied customers their right to a refund or replacement vehicle after multiple vehicle faults.

Mazda accused of denying consumer rights over faulty vehicles in ACCC court case

1 Nov 2019

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken Mazda Australia to court, alleging that the car-maker has made false or misleading representations to customers.


Concerning Mazda vehicle purchases from 2013 and 2017, the ACCC says consumers began experiencing faults with their vehicles a year or two after being purchased, with some even unexpectedly losing power and decelerating while being driven.


The ACCC alleges that after months or years of experiencing multiple faults with their vehicles including engine replacements, customers requested a refund or replacement vehicle but were denied by Mazda Australia.


ACCC chair Rod Sims said Mazda Australia denied customers their rights under Australian consumer law.


“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,” he said.


“In short, our case is that Mazda gave these consumers the ‘run around’ while denying their consumer guarantee rights.


“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.


“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 multiple unsuccessful attempts to repair the vehicle, Mazda Australia pressured customers to accept offers less than what they were entitled to, only offering to refund a portion of the car’s purchase price, or providing a replacement only if a significant payment was made.


In one particular example, an extended warranty and free servicing was the only compensation offered.


For the Federal Court case, the ACCC is seeking penalties, declarations, injunctions, consumer redress, a publication order, an order requiring the implementation of a compliance program and costs.


Mazda Australia plans to “vigorously” defend the allegations, releasing a statement highlighting its usually commendable customer service record.


“Mazda Australia recognises that the purchase and ownership of a new car is a major investment for Australian consumers,” it said. 


“As such, Mazda Australia’s objective is to always to provide the ultimate customer experience; an experience that has been consistently confirmed as the highest by industry and independent surveys at purchase and service milestones. 


“In doing so, it consistently exceeds its legal obligations. It is, therefore, disappointed that the ACCC has chosen to commence legal proceedings against it for alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law. Those proceedings will be vigorously defended.”


The brand was also quick to point out that it has finished in top place for the last four years of the JD Power customer service index study.


Vehicles affected include the Mazda2, Mazda6, CX-5, CX-3 and BT-50.

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