THE existence in the Australian market of the practice of claiming cars sold to meet sales targets, when they were not actually sold to a customer – the so-called cyber cars – has been confirmed officially in the recent Statutory Consumer Guarantee agreement between Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
In the agreement published online by the ACCC, signed by VGA’s managing director Michael Bartsch on August 27 this year and countersigned by the ACCC chairman, Rod Sims on September 6, VGA agrees to abide by Australian Consumer Law rulings, in addition to specific rulings including warranty, manufacturing defects, logbooks and vehicle replacement.
The agreement also refers to cyber cars which the ACCC terms “pre-reported” cars.
Under the clause number 3 “misrepresentations about manufacturer’s warranties”, it states:
3.1 The ACCC is concerned that car manufacturers and dealers may make misleading representations to consumers about the length of coverage provided by manufacturer’s warranties in circumstances where the sale of a vehicle has been pre-reported.
3.2 Pre-reporting refers to the practice of a car being recorded in a car manufacturer’s system as sold, registered or otherwise in use before it has been purchased by a consumer. Pre-reporting can cause a manufacturer’s warranty to commence before the vehicle is purchased by a consumer. This has the effect of reducing the period of the manufacturer’s warranty available to the consumer who purchases the vehicle, which may not be disclosed to the consumer at the time of purchase.
By Neil Dowling