A number of members have contacted the MTA enquiring about their obligations towards the owner of a vehicle where they have previously undertaken work for a previous owner.
Where an issue has occurred, the new owner of a vehicle may approach a business seeking rectification. Additionally, where someone has an issue, or is looking to purchase a vehicle, the new owner may also seek previous service and repair information. As such, it is important that MTA members understand their obligations.
Previous Repair Information
Beginning with the disclosure of previous repair information, an MTA member should not release this to a new owner unless authorised to do so by the person they undertook the work for previously. Under privacy laws, this information would constitute private information and therefore this information can’t be disclosed without appropriate authorisation being provided.
When an MTA member is approached by a new owner, they should explain that they are unable to disclose any information on repair work done due to privacy laws and that they will only be able to do so with the previous owner’s authorisation. In the event a previous owner will consent to this information being disclosed, it is very important to get any authorisation clearly in writing.
Warranties and Consumer Guarantees
In regards to warranties, the default position is that these will not transfer to a new owner, which means that should an issue arise with the vehicle, any warranty provided to the previous owner does not automatically transfer to the new owner. Additionally, the Australian Consumer Guarantees (ACL Guarantees) are not transferrable meaning that a new owner will not be able to bring a claim under the ACL against a member for work that was undertaken for someone else.
It is possible for a warranty to be transferrable; however, this is only where this is expressly detailed as one of the warranty terms. Accordingly, members need to be aware of the specific terms of any warranty they supply or receive as if the intention is for these to be transferrable then this needs to be clearly communicated in the relevant terms and conditions.
Despite the fact, that ACL Guarantees and most warranties are not transferrable, an MTA member should still consider whether it may be beneficial to offer assistance to a new owner. Where the issue present is minor and/or clearly in connection to work done by a member, providing assistance could be worthwhile as it will show to the new owner that you are willing to assist them regardless and not appear to just be looking to avoid any liability. Where the person approaching the member is not a current customer, this could also assist in having them being so for the future.
Providing assistance can also be beneficial should the new owner persist with making a claim/approaching Consumer and Business Services simply as a business decision.
If members need assistance with warranties and consumer guarantees, please contact the WR team on firstname.lastname@example.org, or on