THE Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has stepped up its campaign supporting independent workshops and their right to service vehicles under a new-car factory warranty, launching a fresh salvo against vehicle manufacturers and their dealers in the form of an educational package dubbed ‘The Truth About New Car Servicing’.
Designed to dispel the myths surrounding the servicing of new vehicles, the package explains the facts relating to servicing under Australian Consumer Law and takes the form of a brochure directed at mechanical workshops and a ‘frequently asked questions’ (FAQ) leaflet for their customers.
Urging the industry to work together in educating consumers about the facts and their rights under the law, AAAA executive director Stuart Charity said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had reviewed the content of the package and “has no concerns with the accuracy of the information being provided”.
“We need every independent vehicle service business in Australia to get behind this campaign to provide factual and consistent information to their customers,” he said.
“The AAAA encourages staff in all independent workshops to read this brochure and familiarise themselves with the different warranties, as well as your obligations as a repairer when you service new cars.
“We also encourage you to customise the FAQ sheet with your business details and hand it out to customers to help educate them about new-car servicing.”
In announcing the initiative, the AAAA emphasised the importance of independent workshop owners understanding the difference between a manufacturer’s warranty and an aftermarket extended warranty offered through an authorised dealership.
In the case of the factory warranty, the AAAA says “independent workshops can confidently assure customers that their manufacturers’ warranty will remain valid, and so will their protections under the consumer guarantees regime”.
However, if the vehicle is covered by an extended warranty offered by a specific dealer (which usually kick in at the completion of the manufacturer’s warranty), “imposing conditions may be permissible”.
Many independent workshops offer their own extended warranties, while others, as the AAAA puts it, “choose to educate customers on the many pitfalls that may be associated with them”.
The bottom line is that “these warranties cannot replace manufacturers’ warranties or the consumer guarantees”.
In the case of service logbooks, many of which suggest only an “authorised dealer” can stamp them, the AAAA said the ACCC had advised that independent repairers may sign or stamp the relevant pages (once the service is completed and all applicable requirements are met), without it affecting the factory warranty.
“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,” Mr Charity said.
“This is not a pipe dream. This is Australian Consumer Law.”
The ‘Truth About New Car Servicing’ package is available on the AAAA’s Choice of Repairer campaign website: www.choiceofrepairer.com.au.