If you ask your manufacturer, most will say ‘yes’ but, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), it’s not quite that simple.
The ACCC maintains that owners will retain the protection of a valid manufacturer’s warranty even if their car is serviced by an independent workshop, provided the workshop meets some important obligations. Drivers are advised to discuss the issue with their preferred repairer.
However, if the vehicle is covered by an aftermarket extended warranty plan offered by a dealer, which usually kicks in after the manufacturer’s warranty expires, the water gets a little murkier as the dealer is permitted to impose conditions on the warranty.
Further to that, many car service logbooks include wording that the book must be stamped by an ‘authorised dealer’, but the ACCC has confirmed that independent repairers may sign or stamp the relevant pages of service logbooks without it affecting the manufacturers’ warranties – as long as they have completed the service and all applicable requirements are met.
In order to ensure drivers are aware of their rights, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has launched a new Truth About Car Servicing campaign.
The AAAA is a national industry association representing manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers of automotive parts and accessories, tools and equipment in Australia
Truth About Car Servicing brochure, which has been reviewed by the ACCC, will target workshop owners and their customers in a bid to dispel the ‘myths’ about new car servicing. The material also aims to educate independent repairs about their obligations when servicing in-warranty cars.
AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity said dealerships had the majority of the servicing market for cars less than four years old, while the majority of out of warranty vehicles are serviced in the independent market.
“Imagine a car servicing market where consumers are fully aware of their warranty rights and can choose their preferred repairer based on relationships, service, proximity and price, confident in the knowledge that their manufacturers’ warranty will be preserved, regardless of where they get their car serviced,” He said. “This is not a pipe dream. This is Australian Consumer Law.”
For more information, see www.choiceofrepairer.com.au