I’ve complained about a used car warranty – what do I do next?

What to do next…

See what they say

If you are unhappy with the warranty provider’s response or if the warranty provider does not respond within 45 days, lodge a complaint. Just because they say ‘no’ or do not reply at all does not mean you should give up.

Complain to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)

AFCA is an independent dispute resolution body which provides free services to consumers who have not been able to resolve their dispute with financial services providers who are AFCA members.

National Warranty Company, Australian Warranty Network and Integrity Car Care are currently all members of AFCA. You can go to the AFCA website to check whether or not the warranty provider is a member. Note that the name might be different to their trading name, so carefully check your documents for the correct name.

Remember to provide AFCA all of the relevant documents you have, including your complaint letter and a copy of the warranty.

What else can you do?

Complain to the business who sold you the product and/or your finance provider

You might also want to complain to the business which sold you the product (usually a car dealer or a car loan provider) about the way in which it was sold or the fact that they sold it to you at all. Make sure it is clear to all recipients that you have sent a letter to someone else as well. You cannot double-dip!

If you are in Victoria and need assistance with this, you can contact Consumer Action Law Centre. Contact details are set out below.

Complain to regulators and your local MP

Regulators are government agencies that are there to ‘police’ the practices of industry. Complaining to regulators is important because:

  • It helps regulators keep up to date with problems
  • It can help the regulator take action to stop unfair practices and lead to improved behaviour by businesses. If nobody complains, the regulator has no evidence that a business is behaving badly
  • If the business you are in dispute with knows you have complained to the regulator, it sometimes encourages the business to resolve your complaint. So when you write a complaint letter to the regulator, send a copy to the business.

If you want to let a regulator know about your dispute with a warranty provider or a lender, you can send your complaint to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). If your complaint involves a car dealer, you should also send it to Consumer Affairs Victoria. You can also write to your local MP to let him or her know about the dispute.

Be aware that ASIC cannot help you resolve your individual complaint. However, they may take legal action against the business.

Further assistance

For those in Victoria, you can contact the Consumer Action Law Centre
Telephone: (03) 9629 6300, or 1800 466 477 for country callers.
Email: advice@consumeraction.org.au

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can call through the National Relay Service (NRS):

  • TTY users can phone 133677 then ask for 1800 466 477
  • Speak & Listen (speech-to-speech) users can phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1800 466 477
  • Internet relay users can connect to NRS on www.relayservice.com.au then ask for 1800 466 477

This fact sheet is for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. This information applies only in Victoria and was updated on December 31, 2015.

Image from Kamyar Adl.

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