Buyer Beware: Second-Hand Car Warranties Under Scrutiny Amid Complaints

Consumers are being cautioned against blindly trusting warranties offered by second-hand car dealerships.

The warning comes in light of complaints registered with the Consumer Council of Fiji concerning substandard vehicles and reluctance among dealers to address these issues.

A notable case involves a major dealer selling a Mazda CX-5 for $30,000, only for the buyer to encounter overheating issues within a week. Despite two attempted repairs, the problem persisted, prompting the buyer to request a replacement vehicle, which was denied by the dealer.

“This instance is not isolated, as the Council has recorded multiple cases where consumers were
sold defective vehicles without prior disclosure of issues,” Council CEO Seema Shandil said. “Even when warranties were [seemingly] valid, certain dealers refused redress, leaving consumers disillusioned and [facing financial losses].”

Shandil is reminding dealers that misrepresentation of a vehicle’s condition not only breaches ethical standards but also violates consumer protection laws. For consumers, she urges them to take charge of their decisions, “urging them to engage independent mechanics for pre-purchase inspections rather than relying solely on dealer representations.”

Concerns have also been raised about the adequacy of warranties provided by second-hand car dealerships in Fiji. Currently, these warranties often cover only the engine and gearbox, with limited durations of three months or 6,000 kilometers.

“We are at the final stage of research on the warranty and terms & conditions being offered by second-hand car dealers and upon completion, we will submit to the respective Ministry and agencies, proposing
some consumer positive policy changes”, Shandil said.

The council also cautions against online purchases of second-hand vehicles, highlighting the prevalent ‘as is where is’ basis, which absolves sellers of liability for undisclosed mechanical issues.

Photo: Image by on Freepik

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