An Australia-wide initiative is under way to ensure women get a fair go in car yards and service workshops.
Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave (who is chairman of the Ministerial Council for Consumer Affairs made of Commonwealth and State Fair Trading Ministers) said the initiative had been agreed to by all Federal, State and Territory fair trading authorities.
“Research shows that women often feel they get different treatment than men when buying a car and having it serviced or repaired,” Mr Shave said.
“Women have reported that they are not taken seriously when dealing with people in the car industry.
“A 1994 report found that less than half of women buying a new car were offered test drives while a 1998 report found women often felt repairers were patronising or condescending.
“This project will help dispel myths about women and cars and about the car industry.
“It is being strongly supported by Government, industry and consumer groups and is an opportunity for those in vehicle sales and service to look at the way they do business and eliminate elements of bias against women customers.”
A national working group representing women’s policy and fair trading authorities will co-ordinate the project.
The first phase has begun - a national audit of regulations on selling, servicing and repairing vehicles and of research into women’s experience with the sector.
“Projects like this help develop a better informed, fairer marketplace where consumers and industry know and understand their rights and responsibilities,” Mr Shave said.
“The issue of Women as Consumers has been on the national Status of Women agenda since 1994.”
Media contact: John Clune 9213 6500