MTA welcomes changes to act

THE long awaited changes to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act will come into effect from next week.

Under the changes, vehicles valued below $4,000 will no longer be protected by warranty, while exemptions that applied to four-wheel drive vehicles and motor cycles will be lifted.

The Motor Traders Association has embraced the changes, saying it will enable buyers and sellers to negotiate with more confidence.

The amendments to the act change the statutory warranty requirements that previously applied to a limited range of used vehicles.

Whereas the warranty previously applied to cars that cost more than $2,000, this level has been increased to $4,000.

Motor Traders Association WA chief executive Peter Fitzpatrick said the previous situation “created an unrealistic situation for dealers who were obliged to pay for repairs whose cost could be unviable in a $2,000 car”.

“At the same time, statutory warranties did not apply to four-wheel drives and motorcycles. It was an unsatisfactory situation that was resolved only after long-running negotiations between MTA and the State Government,” he said.

The same warranty provisions now apply to these vehicle classes as applies to normal passenger cars.

Vehicles that cost a minimum of $4,000, have covered less than 150,000 kilometres and are not more than 10 years old, are subject to three months’ warranty or 5,000 kilometres from the time of purchase.

Cars aged between 10 and 12 years that have covered between 150,000 and 180,000 kilometres will be subject to one-month warranty, or 1,500 kilometres.

Mr Fitzpatrick said that, in addition to looking after both the purchasers and vendors of used cars, the act was important because it substantially increased the penalties applying to unlicensed car dealing.

The penalty has increased from a $3,000 fine plus $100 a day to $50,000 plus $1,000 a day.

“There is now an opportunity to impose realistic penalties on those whose activities threaten legitimate operators,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

Under changes to the act, the powers of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Licensing Board have also been beefed up, including the introduction of infringement notices.

Consumer and Employment Protection Minister John Kobelke said it was the first major reform to the act since its introduction in 1974.

“These moves are all aimed at protecting consumers because no-one should be allowed to profit by dishonesty selling a lemon,” he said in May as the bill was passed through Parliament.

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