The The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) commenced Federal Court proceedings against Honda Australia for allegedly telling customers that two dealerships were closed while they were still operating.
Consumer watchdog filings relate to statements made by Honda Australia to customers about two former authorized Honda dealers: Brighton Automotive Holdings Pty Ltd (Astoria) in Victoria and Tynan Motors Pty Ltd (Tynan) in New South Wales.
The ACCC is seeking “monetary claims, fines and expenses”.
It alleges Honda Australia has represented customers between January and June 2021 that the two dealerships will either close or have closed and therefore will no longer supply Honda vehicles.
Although the franchise agreements of these locations were terminated after Restructuring of Honda Australiabusinesses still operate as independent dealers and continue to provide vehicle services including Hondas.
The ACCC alleges Honda notified customers of the two dealers via email, text message and phone call that they needed to visit another Honda dealer for service.
An automated text message published by the ACCC reads: “Your previous service dealer has closed, so please find your nearest Honda Service Center here: https://www.carexpert.com.au/car-news/accc-taking-honda-australia-to-court”
“We allege Honda has deprived customers of the opportunity to make an informed choice about their auto maintenance options in favor of a Honda-affiliated dealer, where it may have been less convenient or less convenient. more costly for them,” said ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver.
“We also allege that Honda harmed the Astoria and Tynan businesses by falsely claiming they were closed or would close, which could result in customers having to service their Honda vehicles elsewhere. “.
Honda Australia released a statement, saying:
“Honda Australia has cooperated with the ACCC investigation into this matter. We are reviewing recent ACCC filings and are unable at this stage to comment further on specific circumstances or details regarding the claims made or individual agents. ”
The company terminated 36 reseller franchise agreements effective June 30, 2021 as part of its restructuring and transition to a reseller sales model.
Astoria and Tynan have both sold Hondas for about 50 years.
In one submission to Senate probe into relationship between automakers and dealers at the end of 2020, Brighton Automotive Holdings alleges that it was informed “without any prior notice” on March 23, 2020 that their agreement would end on June 30, 2021.
Their agreement was set to end on June 30, 2023.
It further alleges the compensation method used by Honda and Deloitte is “roughly” undervaluing the loss suffered by the dealer.
Subsequent reconciliation between Brighton and Honda was unsuccessful.
In addition to announcing the court proceedings against Honda, the ACCC has also emphasized the introduction of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Programeffective July 1, 2022.
This scheme requires OEM service and repair information to be available for purchase by independent Australian repairmen at fair market value.
THAN: Honda cuts dealers, sales as of July 2021
THAN: Toyota Australia faces payouts as Federal Court finds faulty DPFs
THAN: NSW senator says Mercedes-Benz lied to Senate about agency switch
THAN: FCAI director said: ‘The 70s are gone’: Auto dealers must prepare to grow