D’Ath puts squeeze on lemons

ATTORNEY-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath wants to hear Queenslanders' stories about dud new cars to help make the case for national lemon laws.

Ms D'Ath, who put the issue on the national agenda at meeting of consumer affairs ministers in Melbourne last week, said car owners can now visit www.qld.gov.au/lemonlaws to share their story.

 "I want to hear from Queenslanders who've suffered the financial and mental pain of buying a lemon and how they were treated," she said.

 "I'm concerned many people just give up in frustration and sell their lemon to make it someone else's problem.

 "But I also want hear the positive stories if you've been able to enforce your consumer rights to secure a refund, replacement or satisfactory repairs."

 Ms D'Ath said lemons were a costly concern not adequately covered by existing national and state laws.

 "With outlays in the tens of thousands, you'd expect your car to perform. Unfortunately, that's not always the case," she said.

 "At the moment, it's up to the consumer to negotiate with the manufacturer or supplier and make the case their car is a lemon and should be replaced.

 "Lemon laws would make that process easier, either by setting limits on the number of faults, or the amount of time a new car spends off the road before it is automatically considered a lemon.

 "The laws might also place responsibility on the manufacturer or supplier to prove a new car that has a fault is not a lemon, making it easier for consumers to get a refund or replacement."

 Submissions received will be submitted to a wider review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), beginning next year.

 Amendments to the ACL must be agreed by a majority of Australian jurisdictions before they can become law.

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