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Mechanic to continue trading despite failed brake checks

A Belconnen mechanic shop that didn’t conduct required brake tests during registration inspections last year will continue to trade after coming to an agreement with the Commissioner for Fair Trading.

Autoco Tuggeranong Pty Ltd, trading as Bridgestone Select Belconnen, made an enforceable undertaking under which the company will make a $20,000 donation to the Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter fund  as part of the agreement.

The business will also write to all consumers whose vehicles were inspected during the time in question, offering a free inspection since their brakes may not have been checked.

The undertaking comes after audit officers from the Office of Regulatory Services found, last November, that an authorised examiner failed to carry out mechanical brake tests on 90 vehicles.

Bridgestone Select Belconnen initiated an immediate internal investigation and process audit to ensure brake tests were carried out appropriately.

‘‘Bridgestone Select Belconnen acknowledges that the conduct of their examiner likely contravened the Australian consumer law by representing to consumers that their brakes had been tested and complied with applicable vehicle standards, when no test was undertaken,’’ Attorney-General Simon Corbell said.

‘‘When a consumer takes their car to an approved inspection station for an inspection, they should have the confidence that the vehicle will be thoroughly inspected and in accordance  with ...  vehicle inspection standards.’’

The managing director of Bridgestone Select Belconnen,   Peter Taylor,  said brakes had been visually checked and a system had  been implemented to ensure all standards were adhered to, including the use of the brake-testing machine.

‘‘We apologise obviously to all the customers who have been through the system,’’ Mr Taylor said.

‘‘The brakes have been thoroughly checked, we have a policy of visually checking every brake ... [but] the manager has been at fault not going through the full process in using that machine.’’

Bridgestone Select Belconnen is not the first business  found to be not meeting its obligations in relation to  vehicle inspections.

  Kmart Tyre & Auto Service inspection stations at Wanniassa, Phillip, Westfield Belconnen and Braddon came to a similar agreement in May.

Mr Taylor said they were keen  to work with authorities to come up with a more reliable brake-testing system for ‘‘a better outcome for the community’’.

‘‘The [current] system – it’s like a little eftpos machine that sits on the seat, you drive the car and brake and it prints out,’’ he said.

‘‘In the end, it’s a cost-effective way of giving a printout of something – but there’s a proper system where you drive on and test your car ... and it tests your brakes to a much higher level.’’

■ Consumers who took vehicles to Bridgestone Select Belconnen for registration inspections between late 2011 and November last year can contact the store on 62512999 to  have their brakes checked free of charge.

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