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Holden has accepted the findings of an investigation from the ACCC in relation to its consumer guarantee obligations.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission looked into the customer side of the manufacturing giant, following consumer complaints about Holden’s response to a manufacturing fault.

“Holden acknowledged that it misrepresented to some consumers that it had discretion to decide whether the vehicle owner would be offered a refund, repair or replacement for a car with a manufacturing fault, and that any remedy was a goodwill gesture,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The Australian Consumer Law includes consumer guarantees that provide remedies for major and minor faults in motor vehicles. The consumer guarantees operate separately to the manufacturer’s warranty, and cannot be modified to require consumers to have their vehicles serviced by authorised dealers in order to obtain a remedy,” Mr Sims said.

Mr Sims noted that in it’s response Holden acknowledged faults in its current customer guarantee processes and was was working on implementing significant changes that will ultimately benefit consumers.

“Holden has offered an undertaking that goes beyond ensuring compliance with the current consumer guarantee obligations and commits to measures in line with recommended changes to the law. These are great commitments that will have a significant and positive impact for consumers,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC outlined that Holden has committed to the following five recommendations, among other things:

  1. Clarify its internal compliance training program so that multiple minor failures of a vehicle may constitute a major failure
  2. For new vehicles, Holden has also committed to offering consumers a refund or replacement without the need for them to demonstrate a major failure, if a defect prevents a vehicle from being driveable within 60 days of the date of purchase
  3. Engage an external reviewer to consider complaints since 1 January 2016, and provide a remedy to consumers where appropriate
  4. Amend its dealer policies and procedures to ensure they comply with the ACL in relation to consumer guarantees, and
  5. Provide consumers with the ability to obtain information about any issues with their vehicle by contacting Holden and giving their vehicle identification number.

The findings come a week after the ACCC found that Ford was allegedly misleading customers on their consumer rights to have faulty gearboxes checked. The consumer watchdog is currently engaging in a number of new investigations of non-compliance, in a bid to keep the entire industry transparent in relation to consumer rights and laws.

“As shown over the past week, the ACCC has a range of enforcement tools available to address unlawful conduct and we take a proportional response in addressing non-compliance.  I urge all companies selling cars in Australia to get their consumer law compliance programs in order,” Mr Sims said.


For more details on the ACCC’s full findings on Holden, read the full media release here.