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Enforcing Consumer Guarantees: Sabah Hanif v Car Mart Direct Pty Ltd Case Study

In the case of Hanif v Car Mart Direct Pty Ltd [2023] NSWCATCD, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal addressed critical issues under the Australian Consumer Law, specifically focusing on consumer guarantees and misleading representations.


Represented by Arida Lawyers Pty Ltd, Sabah Hanif successfully argued that the 2012 Mazda CX5 she purchased was not only defective but also misrepresented in terms of odometer readings and interior specifications. This decision underscores the obligations of businesses to adhere to truthful advertising and the enforceable rights of consumers to receive products that meet advertised standards and are of acceptable quality.

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Sabah Hanif v Car Mart Direct Pty Ltd [2023] NSWCATCD


In the matter of Sabah Hanif v Car Mart Direct Pty Ltd, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal delivered a decision underscoring the protections afforded to consumers under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).  This case, although not a landmark in legal precedent, remains significant for its detailed application of consumer guarantees and the responsibilities of dealerships in consumer transactions. The legal representation by Arida Lawyers Pty Ltd was pivotal in addressing complex aspects of consumer rights, particularly around misleading representations and the guarantee of acceptable quality.


Case Background

The dispute centred on Sabah Hanif's purchase of a 2012 Mazda CX5 from Car Mart Direct Pty Ltd, which was found to be defective and not as described in the initial advertisement. After experiencing multiple mechanical failures and discrepancies in the vehicle's description (such as odometer reading and interior colour), Hanif sought legal redress through the Tribunal.


Legal Issues and Tribunal's Findings


1. Guarantee of Acceptable Quality:


  • The Tribunal found that the vehicle was not of acceptable quality at the time of delivery. It determined that the defects and the unsafe condition of the vehicle constituted a 'major failure' under ACL's Section 54. This finding allowed Hanif to reject the vehicle and entitled her to a full refund.


2. Misleading and Deceptive Conduct:


  • A crucial aspect of this case was the issue of misleading representations made by Car Mart Direct. Hanif was led to believe she was purchasing a vehicle different from what was delivered. The vehicle's condition and specifications significantly deviated from the advertisement.

  • Under Section 18 of the ACL, which prohibits misleading or deceptive conduct in trade or commerce, the Tribunal found that Car Mart Direct's actions misled Hanif, particularly concerning the vehicle's odometer reading and interior colour, which were pivotal in her decision to purchase.


Tribunal's Orders


Car Mart Direct Pty Ltd was ordered to:


1. Accept the return of the defective vehicle.

2. Cover all towing costs.

3. Compensate Hanif AUD $26,729.10 by a specified deadline.


Implications for Consumer Rights and Business Responsibilities

This case reinforces the critical nature of accurate representations in consumer sales and the consequences of failing to uphold the ACL's guarantees. It illustrates the legal recourse available to consumers when products fail to meet expected standards and when misleading information influences purchasing decisions.


While not establishing new legal principles, the decision in Hanif v Car Mart Direct Pty Ltd serves as a good example of consumer protection in action. It highlights the diligent efforts of legal representatives like Arida Lawyers in advocating for consumer rights and ensuring businesses adhere to their obligations under the ACL. This case is a reminder for consumers of their rights and for businesses about the importance of transparency and honesty in product descriptions and sales practices.

This article provides general information relevant to our expert services. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact us for a free initial consultation.

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