Right to Repair SA offers this advice for private, non-dealer car repairs
Right to Repair South Africa (R2RSA) chairperson Gunther Schmitz on Friday welcomed the pledge by the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada) to support the Competition Commission guidelines.
The guidelines, which come into effect on July 1, are intended to steer industry players towards dropping the barriers to entry for small, independent and mostly previously disadvantaged service providers, and were published in December after three years of negotiations with stakeholders across the spectrum.
While Nada is recommending that “consumers will need to communicate with relevant dealers to understand what is and what is not possible with regard to respective original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) processes and procedures, and terms and conditions”, R2RSA suggests consumers ask their dealers to put that in writing to avoid surprises at a later stage, Schmitz said.
It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the guidelines are there to support consumer choice, fair competition and competitive pricing, he said.
Previously, motor manufacturers would void the warranty if a vehicle was not serviced at the dealership. Now, if it is found that a [subsequent mechanical] failure is due to inferior quality parts or incorrect service procedures or faulty workmanship, the manufacturer can only decline cover for the affected component while the warranty itself remains, Schmitz said.
“In this case the service provider that caused the failure will become liable, a basic principle that has always applied.
“We strongly advise motorists to make use of reputable and independent service providers and make sure they have sufficient defective workmanship and liability insurance in place. Any components of which the warranty might be affected will then be covered by the insurance and consumers will have nothing to worry about.”
If consumers find that some brands are not following the rules, they can contact the Competition Commission or R2RSA directly for advice, he said.
“The fact that technical information and special tools will be even more accessible to independent workshops will help them tremendously in diagnosing and keeping down the costs for the consumer. Ultimately more competition always leads to better prices, better quality and better service.”