Multiple cases of consumers sold defective second hand vehicles - Shandil

Multiple cases of consumers sold defective second hand vehicles - Shandil

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 15/02/2024

The Consumer Council of Fiji is concerned about complaints registered at the Council about the sale of below-standard second hand vehicles and the car dealership’s reluctance to offer appropriate remedies to affected customers.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil says in a notable case documented by the Council, a prominent second-hand car dealer sold a Mazda CX-5 vehicle for $30,000, only for the buyer to encounter overheating issues within a week of purchase.

Despite two attempted repairs, the problem persisted, prompting the buyer to request a replacement vehicle, which was summarily denied by the dealer.

This instance is not isolated, as the Council has recorded multiple cases where consumers were sold defective vehicles without prior disclosure of issues.

Even when warranties were valid, certain dealers refused redress, leaving consumers disillusioned and out of pocket after significant investments.

The Council emphasizes that misrepresentation of a vehicle's condition not only violates ethical standards but also contravenes consumer protection laws.

Shandil is stressing the importance of consumers being fully informed about any issues with second-hand vehicles, urging them to engage independent mechanics for pre-purchase inspections rather than relying solely on dealer representations.

Concerns are also raised about the adequacy of warranties offered by second-hand car dealerships in Fiji.

Currently, most warranties cover only the engine and gearbox, with limited durations of three months or 6,000 kilometres.

Shandil says they at the final stage of research on the warranty and terms and conditions being offered by second-hand car dealers and upon completion, they will make a submission to the respective Ministry and agencies, proposing some consumer positive policy changes.

The Council also advises caution when purchasing second-hand vehicles through online platforms, noting that many transactions are on an 'as is where is' basis, absolving sellers of liability for undisclosed mechanical issues.

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