New car service review

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The ACCC announced the results of their 18 month market study on the new car industry today. The study was prompted by a number of concerns raised with the ACCC and Fair Trading about the industry.

Access to information for independent mechanics was looked into. This is an area Lemon Register has been made aware of in a number of complaints. In some cases Manufactures or Dealers are telling consumers to never bring their  vehicles back to the dealership because a customer has raised a complaint with the ACCC or Fair Trading.

In a number of complaints received by Lemon Register consumers have complained about Dealers/Manufactures providing falsified service documents stating work had been carried out that was not possible (in one case the vehicle didn’t not have the part the dealer claimed to have repaired).

With the lack of data sharing with independent mechanics can force the consumer to return their vehicle to a dealer for regular services. The ACCC report found that only some car manufactures provide independent repairers with most of the technical information, but not all of it.

Without sharing all the information to independent repairers could just be a tactic dealers use to convince customers to return to the dealership for all their warranty services. By not providing all the information to independent repairers, could create an environment where the consumer has less choices and possibly has to pay a higher price due to lack of  competition.

This does appear to be a known tactic according to the ACCC report. The report stated the following:

“A common pricing strategy for car manufacturers and authorised dealers is to discount new car prices to maximise sales of aftermarket services. This strategy reflects that consumers have more choices available at the time of the new car sale than they do in aftermarkets for repair, service and replacement parts after the sale.”

The ACCC recommends regulatory intervention to mandate the sharing of technical information with independent repairers on ‘commercially fair and reasonable terms’.

Until there are systems put in place to ensure consumers are provided with all the information about their vehicle, Lemon Register recommends talking with Dealers prior to purchasing your vehicle and requesting they put a clause into your sales contract stating they will supply all information about your vehicle with every service report.

 

A full copy of the report can be found here: https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/New%20car%20retailing%20industry%20final%20report_0.pdf