When adding parts to a customer’s car, you must be vigilant when adding something that may exceed the capacities of the vehicle or accessories, including towing capacity and Gross Vehicle Mass.
Under Australian Consumer Law, if a customer’s car is involved in an accident and a part is deemed responsible or had an effect on the accident’s outcome, the parts or services you provided may be tested as to whether they were fit for purpose. If a part fitted was used for purposes other than what they have been designed or intended for, it can lead to unpleasant consequences for you.
For example, if you fit a tow bar that was designed to carry a specific trailer weight and the customer carries a different trailer above the specifications of the tow bar and is involved in an accident, you must be able to demonstrate that you made reasonable enquiries that the tow bar was suitable for the specified purpose.
It may seem like a simple thing to ask your customers and keep documentation on, but it happens!
Your liabilities and disclaimers in relation to customers and the parts they purchase has never been more important, especially given that more and more road users are looking to increase the specifications of their vehicles and range or performance of accessories and components at the lowest cost possible.
If you have any concerns in relation to your obligations when fitting parts or accessories such as tow bars or where customers may potentially be exceeding the Gross Vehicle Mass or towing capacity of a vehicle, do not hesitate to contact our Workplace Relations team for liability advice or disclaimers by clicking here.
Our Industry Engagement Specialists are also available for assistance if you require by clicking here.
You should make your customers aware that if their vehicle intends to carry an over specification load, they must be willing to pay for the engineering costs for parts to adequately do the job in order to be compliant. You should also let your customers know that warranties could be voided and the insurance of their customer’s car could be negatively affected. In these instances, you should let your customers be aware of the importance of owning a tow ball scale or other weighing devices to ensure that trailers and loads being carried will not exceed the limits of any tow bar.