Vehicle repairer fine prompts warning about over-servicing
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Vehicle repairers and service companies have been warned not to rip off consumers by over-servicing after a Midland company was convicted and fined in the Perth Magistrates Court on 3 May 2012.
Visco Enterprises Pty Ltd (in liquidation), previously trading as Midas Car Care Centre, was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay Court costs of $2,000 for making false or misleading representations to a consumer. The former franchise store in Midland has been transferred back to Midas ownership and is now operating under new management.
Lawyers for Consumer Protection told the Court that, in April 2010, a consumer had taken his vehicle to the premises for a service and was told that the vehicle required new brake pads and discs at a cost of $798.
Suspecting that this was not the case, the consumer declined to have the work done and lodged a complaint with Consumer Protection. Automotive Services Branch officers at the Department inspected the vehicle and found that the brake pads and discs did not need to be replaced.
It is an offence under consumer law for a person, in trade or commerce, to make a false or misleading representation concerning the need for any goods or services.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said this Court case highlights some practices in the vehicle repair and service industry that clearly contravene consumer laws.
"Taking advantage of a consumer's lack of knowledge of the mechanical needs of their vehicle is not just immoral, it's illegal. Consumer Protection will take a dim view of any operator in the industry who mislead their customers by carrying out unnecessary repairs or over-servicing their vehicle," Ms Driscoll said.
"Consumer Protection will take immediate action against any repairer or service company found to be misleading their customers in this way and, apart from risking a fine, they could jeopardise their licence to operate if found guilty.
"We strongly recommend that consumers only use licensed vehicle repairers and service companies and to question any extra work that they claim needs to be done. For major work, consumers should always get more than one quote and seek the assessment of another trader.
"Consumer Protection is eager to stamp out these illegal practices in the industry and would encourage consumers to come forward if they have had unnecessary repairs recommended."
If vehicle owners suspect that an operator is over-servicing their vehicle or carrying out unnecessary repairs, they should contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email@example.com and have their vehicle independently inspected by the Department.
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