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Vehicle Complaints and Recalls

The Australian Government regulates the manufacture, importation and first supply to the market of road vehicles to ensure an acceptable level of safety, emission control and anti-theft protection across the Australian vehicle fleet. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development administers these arrangements under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989. Vehicle standards are set through the Australian Design Rules (ADRs). Additionally, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development carries out safety investigations and monitors vehicle recalls on behalf of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development considers complaints about vehicles with safety issues that will or may cause injury within the terms of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, or that may not be compliant with the ADRs or other legislative requirements of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989. Investigations may be conducted where there is evidence to support a systemic issue.

If a safety or ADR non-compliance issue is identified in a vehicle it may be subject to a recall. To find out if a vehicle is subject to a recall please refer to the Product Safety Recalls Australia website.

The Product Safety Recalls Australia website also contains a list of frequently asked questions. Please refer to the Product Safety FAQs.

The ACCC has developed guidance material to assist consumers. See one of the following links for further information:

According to the above guide a product or service may be recalled if it:

  • may cause injury
  • does not comply with a mandatory standard

Evidence must exist to show one or more of the issues outlined above are applicable and the defect must be common to a number of vehicles or products.

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Last Updated: 2 October, 2013