Hyundai has agreed to review warranty claims over the past 12 months, as well as other changes to better comply with Australian Consumer Law. Picture: Supplied.
Hyundai has agreed to review warranty claims over the past 12 months, as well as other changes to better comply with Australian Consumer Law. Picture: Supplied.

ACCC puts Hyundai on the hoist over warranty claims

HYUNDAI customers who've had car trouble in the past 12 months will have their cases reviewed - and vehicles fixed if required - as part of a voluntary agreement signed with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The court enforceable undertaking will also see Hyundai continue to overhaul its complaints process, better inform customers of their rights, and update its "mystery shopper" program, which secretly checks how dealers treat their customers.

Hyundai is the second car company to enter an agreement with the ACCC as part of its investigation into warranty claims in the automotive industry.

"Through our new car retail market study, we identified industry-wide issues with the way car manufacturers were handling consumer guarantee complaints," said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

"Hyundai worked constructively with us and formally committed to improve their systems to comply with consumer guarantees. By putting the consumer law front and centre, Hyundai is seeking to ensure its customers get what they're legally entitled to when they experience a problem with their vehicle."

Unlike Holden, which signed a court enforceable undertaking in August 2017 following wide-ranging customer complaints dating back six years, Hyundai says its agreement is voluntary and not the result of disputed warranty claims.

Hyundai Australia boss Scott Grant said: "The ACCC has not been investigating us, or identified any number of complaints or problems with our products or services, or highlighted any particular individual consumer issues to build a case against us. We shared with the ACCC our existing plans to improve consumer experience."

Workshops across all brands are under the ACCC microscope. Picture: Supplied.
Workshops across all brands are under the ACCC microscope. Picture: Supplied.

The ACCC investigation has found Australian Consumer Law (ACL) offers better customer protection than most vehicle warranties.

"Warranty policies are quite definite in terms of what they cover and the time frames that apply, but the ACL is far more open to interpretation, and that's where you get the differences of opinion from time to time," said Mr Grant.

"We're reviewing our warranty policies to be far more focused on the ACL (and planning) a lot more training for dealers and a lot more empowerment for regional offices to authorise warranty repairs."

The ACCC says the car industry has a long way to go to improve consumer protection. Picture: Supplied.
The ACCC says the car industry has a long way to go to improve consumer protection. Picture: Supplied.

The ACCC says the car industry as a whole "needs to lift its game in handling consumer guarantee complaints".

"The ACCC calls on other car manufacturers to follow Hyundai's lead by providing similar formal commitments," said Mr Sims.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling



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