THE motor vehicle industry catchphrase of Drive away, no more to pay should mean just that.
The single price for any vehicle is calculated by adding up each of the price components that makes up the price representation.
The law specifies the components that a motor vehicle dealer is required to include. Most commonly these are vehicle purchase price, stamp duty, registration and licence fee and dealer delivery fee.
The sum of these component prices must be given in any advertising as a single figure that is at least as prominent as any component or partial price. This may also vary depending on whether a new or used vehicle is being advertised.
The single price should relate to the featured model of the vehicle. We no longer see the bad old days of a “cab chassis” vehicle, advertised as “Drive away, no more to pay” when the price did not include the price of the tray or body.
If a car dealer advertises a new vehicle and the single price includes less than 12 months registration, the advertisement should tell potential customers. For example, if the vehicle is registered for three months, the advertisement should state this, so the consumer is fully aware that they will need to pay licensing fees in three months.
Licensing fees are listed on the Department of Transport website.
It is common practice for the transfer fee and stamp duty on used vehicle sales to be paid by the purchaser, and this is not usually included in the advertised sale price.
But if a used vehicle was to be advertised as “Drive away, no more to pay”, then the advertised price must include the cost of both the transfer fee and stamp duty, along with any other fee that may be applicable such as luxury goods tax.
In all instances, car sales advertisements should be clear and there should not be any potential to mislead the purchaser or misrepresent the vehicle in any way.
Australian Consumer Law prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct, whether it actually misleads or is likely to mislead.
Under the law, it is irrelevant whether the seller intended to do this or not: the provision can be breached by both deliberate and inadvertent conduct.
Whether a new or used vehicle is being advertised, it is important that the overall impression created by the advertisement is an accurate one.
This includes any representations, written or pictorial, about the price, model, features and other essential information.
My message to businesses would be that simple and accurate advertising information is vital to sell a product, develop your market and to benefit from referral and repeat business.
Customers who feel misled are not likely to come back.
Consumers who would like report allegedly misleading advertisements or transactions can contact Consumer Protection by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 1300 30 40 54.