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VE SV6 air con - PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS...

Rewey

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Well, here we are 12 months later and guess what?!? The car is back in at Gardner Holden because the goddamn air conditioner doesn't work! This time, apparently, it's the "receiver dryer" that is gone. That means over the SIX visits to Gardner Holden to have the air con issue fixed they have upgraded the software, replaced the header control assembly, replaced the schroeder valves, replaced 2 air con pipes, 2 air con seals, 1 pipe seal and 1 condenser seal, and now the 'receiver dryer' needs replacing.

As it is out of warranty, it's now my problem (although the service manager spoke with John Gardner and they have agreed to cover labour costs). When the issue happened last year, he said if there was ever an issue again someone would drive out and collect my car and repair it at no cost - obviously that's not the case any longer.

The thing that really frustrates me is this - I am sick of the argument each time that now it's "a different component that is broken". I don't care. I didn't buy a bucket full of all those parts above - I purchased a car WITH AN AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM. This is an ongoing problem with THE AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM. The definition of 'system' is "a set of connected things or parts".

The changes in consumer law now give me as a consumer the right to expect "acceptable quality", which includes the requirement of "durability" (Australian Consumer Law s54(6)). Regardless of whether it is still under warranty or not, would anyone like to support me in the idea that I expect a car touted as Holden's "billion dollar baby" should have an expected life span of more than 4 years?

Regards,
Rewey
 

RiCeY

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Uhh the receiver dryer should be replaced every time the system is exposed to the atmosphere ie when pipes are replaced etc
 

Rewey

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Really? Is that something I can find in a user manual or something to show them? I would argue then that it wasn't replaced 12 months ago when they were operating on the system then? I take it your experience is from working in some capacity with these things, Ricey?

Cheers,
Rewey
 

RiCeY

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It's part of the Australian Code Of Practise.

A.12 Filter/dryer and accumulators
A.12.1 Whenever the refrigerant system is opened, the filter/dryer or
accumulator, when fitted, must be replaced in accordance with
the manufacturer’s instructions.
Where the manufacturer has not issued instructions, the units
must be replaced whenever the system is opened or after 5 years
of service.

Australian Refrigeration Council Ltd
 

Rewey

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Well... interestingly enough, when I went to collect my car yesterday evening I was told that all of the costs have now been covered "in good will".

For those that have read the beginnings of this thread, they will know that the former service manager had read it while the car was in being repaired, and called me at work with the threat that Holden may not cover the repairs if they were unhappy with what I had written - so we know that certain people are obviously reading this thread. All of this makes me wonder whether:

a) it is merely coincidence, and the work really was done in good will
b) Ricey's information in the previous post about the receiver-drier shows that the part should have been replaced when it was last in 12 months ago (and either it wasn't, or it has failed after only 12 months)
c) the information I posted about the amendments to the Australian Consumer Law are spot on

As a contribution to others on this site, I will outline a little more about the changes to Australian Consumer Law, because I believe it will radically change the experiences many people have with having cars repaired, what sort of things are covered by warranties, and will highlight the scam-ish nature of many extended warranties (on all products, not just cars). Without giving too much about myself away, I deal with legislation and legal arguments all day for work. I have liaised directly with State Ministers, and have personally been involved in amending State legislation over the past few years - so when it comes to the application of legislation, I generally know what I'm talking about.

The changes to the Australian Consumer Law came into effect from 1 January 2011. The biggest change that affects us is the change from goods being of "merchantable quality" to goods being of "acceptable quality". In short, being 'merchantable' means it is free of defect on delivery to the customer. Being of 'acceptable quality' includes a number of expectations for a period of time after receiving the goods. Acceptable quality is defined as being:

- fit for purpose
- acceptable in appearance and finish
- free from defects
- safe; and
- durable

The key element for most car owners is the understanding of the term 'durable'. Although a little bit objective, durability is determined as the "reasonable expectations of consumers". In other words, if I buy a car, even if it is one year old, I expect that the air conditioning will last more than 12 months.

I would recommend people google a slide presentation by Stephen Corones, Professor of Law at QUT (if you google "20110608_Corones.pdf" you will find it). Pages 13-16 summarise this section on durability, including when it is the consumer's fault. Pages 18-22 outline the outcomes of various legal cases which demonstrate how much protection is offered to consumers - in one case a 6 year old car had a gearbox failure 11 months after purchase, in another a 13 year old car had a gearbox failure 3 months after purchase. In all cases, customers were either awarded the repairs or the full refund of the purchase price due to what a consumer is reasonably entitled to expect in terms of durability.

Maybe I need to create a new thread on the topic which would gain some further input from other people? I believe these changes will greatly alter the way consumers are treated by manufacturers, particularly those who use sketchy wording in express warranties, and assume no responsibility at all after the warranty period expires. I believe my case is a perfect example - a car touted as Holden's 'billion dollar baby' should have a life expectancy outside of normal wear and tear of more than 4 years, whether or not it is covered by an express warranty.

Thanks again for your help above, Ricey...

Regards,
Rewey
 

Rewey

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I've just found some more information to share, this time from the legal firm HWL Ebsworth. They have created a web page titled "Australian Consumer Law - What Car Dealers Need to Know and Do", so I think it is poignant here. The important applicable information from the page is:

3. Importantly, the definition of “acceptable quality” now contains an express element of “durability”. If a product is not sufficiently durable (such that it breaks down earlier than a consumer would reasonably expect) then it is no longer necessary to prove that it had a latent defect at the time of supply – all a consumer needs to establish is that a product failed early and was therefore not sufficiently durable.

4. When a consumer guarantee has been breached, the consumer’s remedy depends on whether the breach is classed as a “major failure” or a “minor failure”. If a failure to comply is “major” the consumer can chose the remedy they want. This may include electing to return the product for a refund or if they prefer, a new replacement product. An example of a “major failure” is if the goods are unsafe or where the vehicle departs in one or more significant respects from the description.

And what I found the most interesting is that all Manufacturer Warranties must now include the following text:

“Our goods come with guarantees that cannot be excluded under the Australian Consumer Law. You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and for compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure.”

Hope this helps somebody in the future...

Regards,
Rewey
 

VEdriver59

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Go back to these people and get them to tell you ecactly which part needs fixing, what it does, where it starts finishes then fix it your self or get it done somethere cheaper.
 

CR25094

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You reported the issue while under warranty therefore it remains a warrantable fix until repaired.

You shouldnt be paying a cent.
Hi RiCey,
I thought you would be the only person who could help, I've got a VE wagon V6
I have blown the radiator hose off twice recently so I've put fresh coolant in put it in engineering mode to see what the coolant temp is getting to. When I'm moving its fine sitting about 93 when I sat in Macca's drive through climbed to 102 and think it would have went higher if I didn't start moving. I pulled over to check thermo fans and at 102 none were on. Any information from you would be much appreciated mate.
 

commy vk

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I currently have a problem with the AC in my SV6, seems like it needs to be re gassed. Hopefully I don't have the same amount of trouble you've had!

What the service manager said does have truth to it, in the AC system there is an oil, it keeps all the rubbers in good condition.
I know that so some jap cars turn the air con on when you select reverse, this allows the AC gas and oil to be pumped around the system and helps look after the seals.
This is to look after the seals in winter when you're not turning the AC on.

As for advice on how to deal with the $695 bill, I would argue that it was a known problem with you car, having taken it back so many times. I think you can call Holden direct though, and inform them of what's happening, they might cover part of the cost.
Sorry bout the problems with your AC hope U get it sorted,anyway on my VE when the demister is selected
the air con works.I think this may be Jimmys way of keeping the air con up to scratch in winter.
 

adclawrence

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Hi RiCey,
I thought you would be the only person who could help, I've got a VE wagon V6
I have blown the radiator hose off twice recently so I've put fresh coolant in put it in engineering mode to see what the coolant temp is getting to. When I'm moving its fine sitting about 93 when I sat in Macca's drive through climbed to 102 and think it would have went higher if I didn't start moving. I pulled over to check thermo fans and at 102 none were on. Any information from you would be much appreciated mate.
The VE's fans wont actually kick in until the coolant temperature reaches 109c (when the air conditioning is off and vehicle speed is less than 30km/h)

Seems hot, but apparently this is how they roll. Probably due to more efficient combustion at higher engine temps.
 
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