VW dealer forced to refund $30k three years after purchase
A CAIRNS car dealer has been ordered to fully refund a car buyer the $29,990 he paid for a "faulty" new Volkswagen Passat - more than three years after he bought it.
Timothy Foley returned his 2016 Volkswagen Passat to Westco Cairns 14 times after he bought the new car in March, 2017, complaining of various problems.
The VW had only 18 kilometres on the odometer when it was sold by Westco.
A Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member found the car was back with the dealership for 57 days in the first year after Mr Foley bought it.
It then was back at the dealers for 16 days during Mr Foley's second year of ownership.
Mr Foley first returned the car four months after the purchase, when the low coolant light came on.
Between March 27, 2017, and September 6, last year, the Volkswagen was returned 14 times, mostly because of coolant-related issues.
The coolant housing and water pump were replaced in October, 2017, and less than a month later the cooler regulator housing was replaced.
A right hand front bearing was replaced, a coolant reservoir were later replaced, due to a faulty sensor, the clutch also was replaced and an oil leak was found, due to a perished seal.
In late 2018, Mr Foley complained that the car was intermittently not starting and then the megatronic unit was replaced.
On three occasions in August and September, last year, the car was back at the dealership, after Mr Foley saw faulty error messages, but no fault was found, the tribunal heard.
Westco Cairns said it could find no fault with the coolant system, but tribunal member found there had been a coolant fault "of unknown origin".
"I base my finding that the vehicle had a fault on the fact that the coolant housing was replaced on two occasions, the coolant reservoir was replaced due to a faulty sensor, the water pump was replaced and the coolant level topped up on a number of occasions," the member said.
"Had there been no fault, it seems to me that there would have been no need to replace the coolant housing, the water pump or the reservoir.
"The absence of evidence of an underlying cause of the fault does not equate to the absence of a fault."
On September 1, Mr Foley was ordered to return the car to the dealership, which was ordered to refund $29,990 to Mr Foley within 28 days of the order.
Westco also was ordered to pay Mr Foley's costs of $345.
Queensland's "lemon laws" commenced on September 1, last year, to help buyers who have purchased a faulty vehicle to enforce their consumer rights.
QCAT can hear motor vehicle disputes between buyers and dealers, including disputes involving caravans, involving amounts up to $100,000.
Since the tribunal began hearing motor vehicle disputes under the new laws, 20 published decisions show full refunds were ordered in seven cases.
In two other cases, lesser payments were ordered, while 11 motor vehicle dispute applications were dismissed.
FEFUND AND DAMAGES ORDERS SINCE NOVEMBER 2019
■ Brisbane City Landrover (Austral Pty Ltd) to refund ACH Computing $65,190 for a 2019 Range Rover Evoque
■ Mercedes Benz Brisbane (LSH Auto) to refund Alexksander Kabler's company $55,500 for a 2018 Mercedes Benz X250d Ute
■ Drive (Aust) Pty Ltd to refund $45,145 to John Haisman for 2014 Ford Ranger
■ Titan Caravans (Soel Products Australia) to refund $39,990 to Michael Cunnington for Apache camper
■ Westco Cairns to refund $29,990 to Timothy Foley for 2016 Volkswagon Passat
■ Sunshine State RV to refund $22,000 deposit to Warner Groves for Navian 601 Sunliner motor home
■ Motorworld Queensland to refund $19,000 to Nicholas Vale for 2011 Holden Commodore
■ Capalaba Car World (Shem-Mell Pty Ltd) to pay $9936 to Joanne Lieven for repair of 2008 ■ Nissan Motor Co (Australia) to pay Jason Hammond $2650 in damages over his 2017 Nissan Navara
Originally published as VW dealer forced to refund $30k three years after purchase