A COLAC district farmer is fighting a tractor company for a refund for what he says is a faulty machine.
Beeac’s Tony Carlon bought a Chinese-made tractor in May 2012 from a Melbourne dealer.
“As soon as the tractor was delivered to the farm the problems began,” Mr Carlon said.
“From poor-quality implements that bent and warped under a minimal load, to throttle cables and the alternator breaking,” he said.
Mr Carlon said the company sent replacement parts and a mechanic on three occasions to fix the tractor’s issues.
He said he noticed the clutch wearing in November last year, coolant in the engine’s oil and oil in the coolant.
Mr Carlon contacted the dealer in December with a list of complaints, including five tractor parts already fixed or replaced and 15 items requiring repair.
“The tractor has only performed 178 hours of light work,” Mr Carlon said.
“They are currently offering to pick my tractor up and repair all the faults that I’ve listed and return the tractor to my farm,” Mr Carlon said.
“I have rejected this offer,” he said.
“Glycol, an ingredient in coolant, can cause major problems in a diesel engine long after any repairs.
“I’ve requested a full refund.”
Mr Carlon said he needed to hire a tractor on an hourly rate to feed his animals and do essential farm work.
He said he had started proceedings through the Victorian Small Business Commission to resolve the matter.
Mr Carlon said he knew “there are many other people out there in the same boat as us”.
A Consumer Affairs Victoria spokesperson said ‘consumer guarantees’ in the Australian Consumer Law covered products from Australian businesses.
The same consumer guarantees protect businesses if goods or services cost up to $40,000.
The CAV spokesperson said “depending on the type of problem, the store or seller may have to provide a ‘remedy’, such as a refund, repairs, a replacement or compensation”.
Shop at home for top service
A COLAC farm machinery dealer says access to expert servicing is an advantage for customers buying machinery in their own community.
Colac’s Greg Allan said people needed to be “more loyal to the fact they need to buy locally”.
“Back-up service is the most important thing – that’s what people today want,” Mr Allan said.
“When machines break down or you need spare parts, you need to have spare parts in stock,” he said.
“If you buy in Melbourne you should go there for servicing.”
Mr Allan said customers were wrong to judge a machine by its country of origin, but should consider value for money.
“You can’t say, it’s a Chinese machine, therefore it’s poor quality,” Mr Allan said.
“They’ll make Tonka toys, but they’ll make good machinery, too,” he said.
“You can get a high-quality machine and you can get a poor-quality machine – it comes down to what you’re prepared to pay for it.
“If you start chiselling them down on price, you’ll only get a half bowl of rice.
“To cut their prices they have to make machinery out of cheaper material.”
Mr Allan said he sold farm machinery from China, Spain, Ireland and Italy.
“Buyers want good value for money,” he said.