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Everyone’s heard the word ‘lemon’ used to describe a motor vehicle that’s a dud – constantly breaking down, leaving the owner stranded more times than they can count – sometimes not long after they’ve been handed the keys! But – in much the same way many people don’t realise they’re legally entitled to a temporary replacement vehicle after a not-at-fault accident – many people don’t realise that Australia has “lemon laws” – legislation specifically designed to protect car buyers from being sold a very expensive headache on wheels. Better yet, these laws are about to get even easier to enforce in the Sunshine State!

Easy and affordable recovery

Nationally, Australian Consumer Law already supports disappointed buyers in demanding a full refund on a car that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to – that is, drive reliably. This is wonderful in theory but can be a painful and costly process to put in practice, as it usually means going to court. Happily, as of September 1, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal will gain the power to hear claims up to $100,000 (increased from $25,000) from owners of defective cars, motorhomes, motorbikes and caravans. This means taking these fights for compensation out of the already-overloaded court system and making the process of loss recovery easier and cheaper for the unfortunate owner of the faulty vehicle.

Reinstatement of former legislation

In addition to this change, Queensland is also reinstating previously revoked legislation regarding explicit warranty cover (30 days or 1000 kilometres) on used cars over 10 years old or that have done over 160,000 kilometres. Together, these two shifts in power should bolster buyer confidence, reward reputable dealers – and make roads safer by keeping lemons off them.

Know your rights

It remains to be seen if other states and territories will follow Queensland’s “lemon law” lead, but in the meantime, no matter which state you are in, it’s important to know your rights as a car owner… Like the right to get a temporary replacement vehicle – of a similar style to your car – if you’re in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Apply for your accident replacement car here. After all, when life hands you lemons, someone should help make it easier for you to make lemonade, right?