High Court finds in favour of Mitsubishi & Dealer on fuel consumption labelling case

13 December 2023

The High Court today handed down its decision unanimously in favour of Mitsubishi Motors Australia Pty Ltd and the Mitsubishi Dealer following the claim brought by the purchaser of a Mitsubishi vehicle that its windscreen fuel consumption label was misleading or deceptive in contravention of section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The appeal arose following the purchase of a Mitsubishi MQ Triton. At the time of purchase, the vehicle had applied to its windscreen a fuel consumption label in compliance with provisions of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (Cth) (MVS Act) and the Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 81/02 – Fuel Consumption Labelling for Light Vehicles) 2008 (Cth) (ADR 81/02). The purchaser became dissatisfied with the vehicle’s fuel consumption exceeding the fuel consumption values on the label and filed a claim in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) alleging that Mitsubishi and the Dealer had relevantly, contravened s18 of the ACL in that the fuel consumption label was misleading and deceptive.

The purchaser succeeded before VCAT and Mitsubishi and the Dealer subsequently had their appeals dismissed by the Supreme Court of Victoria and thereafter by the Court of Appeal.

The High Court found that in circumstances where the Mitsubishi and the Dealer were bound, respectively, to apply and to maintain the fuel consumption label on the purchaser’s vehicle by the MVS Act, a label the form and content of which were dictated by ADR 81/02, Mitsubishi and the Dealer did not, by that conduct, contravene section 18 of the ACL.

To access a full copy of the judgment, click here.

This article was written by Evan Stents, Lead Partner – Automotive Industry Group.

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