Motor Car Traders Act 1986 (review and inquiry)

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

VCAT has power to conduct a number of different proceedings under the Motor Car Traders Act 1986.

This information page deals with the following applications to the Review and Regulation List Definition A List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services. :

  • On the application of a person whose interests are affected, VCAT can review (reconsider) certain decisions of the Business Licensing Authority deal with claims in relation to an alleged breach of the Act – see section 32,
  • On the application of the Director of Consumer Affairs or the Chief Commissioner of Police, VCAT can conduct an inquiry to determine whether there are grounds for taking disciplinary action against a licensee – see section 30,
  • On the application of a person whose interests are affected, VCAT can review a decision of the Motor Car Traders Claims Committee relating to the Motor Car Traders’ Guarantee Fund.

If you are a purchaser and you want to apply for rescission under section 45 of the Motor Car Traders Act 1986 you should make your application to the Civil Claims List of VCAT. Strict time limits apply. You may have to apply to the Magistrates’ Court. Read section 45 carefully.

If you are making an application under the Australian Consumer Law you must apply to the VCAT's Civil Claims List.

Cases we can hear

Inquiries

Only the Director of Consumer Affairs or the Chief Commissioner of Police may apply to VCAT for an inquiry to determine whether there are grounds for taking disciplinary action against a licensee.

Reviews

You may be able to apply to VCAT for a review if you are a person whose interests are affected:

  • by a decision of the Business Licensing Authority under section 13, 14, 17, 29A, 29B, 29C, 29D or 33 (certain licensing decisions) or
  • by a decision of the Motor Car Traders Claims Committee relating to the Guarantee Fund

Cases we cannot hear

VCAT can not review any decision to take action under the enforcement provisions of the Act (Part 5A) including to issue notices or to bring proceedings in relation to an alleged offence.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.

Time limits

Review applications

You must make your application within 28 days after the later of the day on which

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.

Inquiries

There are no time limits for inquiry applications.

What can VCAT order?

Review applications

Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:

  • affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
  • vary the decision
  • set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
  • set aside the decision and remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker Definition A person who makes or has made a decision under legislation that gives them this authority. giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case .

Inquiries

After holding inquiry, if we are satisfied that there are grounds for taking action against a licensee, we may:

  • reprimand the licensee
  • order the licensee to pay into the fund a penalty of up to $5,000
  • require the licensee to comply within a specified time with requirements we specify
  • suspend the licensee’s licence for a specified period not exceeding one year
  • require the licensee to enter into an undertaking to perform, or not to perform, certain tasks to be specified in the undertaking
  • impose a condition or restriction on the licensee’s licence
  • if one or more persons have lost money as a result of the grounds upon which the action has been taken, can order the licensee to pay compensation to those persons but not so that the total amount that the licensee may pay is more than $5,000
  • cancel the licensee’s licence and disqualify the licensee (and any partner or director of the licensee) from holding a licence either permanently or for a specified period
  • order that a penalty or compensation be paid by a specified date, and if it is not paid by that date:
    • suspend the licence until the amount is paid and set a final payment date
    • if it is not paid by the final payment date, cancel the licence.

Section 30A applications

On the application of the Director under section 30A of the Act, a Presidential Member Definition A presidential member is either the president, a vice president or deputy president at VCAT. Some types of cases can only be heard or dealt with by a VCAT presidential member. of VCAT may temporarily suspend a licence pending the inquiry if the application for an inquiry includes a ground that the licensee does not have, or is not likely to have, the financial resources to carry on the business to which the licence relates.

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim. The following services may be able to help you:

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.