It was only last edition that we were talking about how state and territory governments were more emboldened after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The incredible shift in power has meant that we are seeing them begin to exert their influence beyond lockdowns and border closures into other areas of public policy, including now the automotive industry.
In the latest example, we are seeing extraordinary overreach by the NSW Government which has proposed a change to Dealer licensing laws which will prevent Dealers from advertising and selling used cars online. The Government’s rationale for the change is to ‘balance the innovation of the automotive industry with the need to provide adequate consumer protections”.
While we support attempts to ‘future proof’ the industry and respond to changes to business models and technologies, the effective ban on the sale of used cars online is a move that fails to meet the needs of an everchanging market and will halt progress towards consumer driven arrangements. This will severely disadvantage both NSW consumers and NSW Dealers, making the state one of the most regressive automotive retail jurisdictions in the world.
Evidence has not been presented to show that consumers purchasing cars online from a licensed Dealer are at a greater risk. In fact, the area that puts consumers at most risk, private online sales, has not been included in the ban. Furthermore, the ACCC has expressed concern over the growing number of car scams which occur in the private-to-private arena.
The AADA provided a submission to the Motor Dealers and Repairers (Statutory Review) Bill 2022, strongly opposing the proposed ban on online used car sales. We are also in the process of outlining our concerns to senior government officials and Ministerial offices, to ensure this proposal is wound back to a more common-sense approach.