Before visiting a garage and giving them your valuable business make sure you visit www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk first.
Motor Codes Limited is the body responsible for the self regulation of the motor industry through consumer codes of practice. Supported by government, consumer organisations and the motor industry we aim to raise standards and increase consumer protection for motorists. Our Codes cover garages, vehicle manufacturers and extended warranty administrators.
The code of practice, although self-regulating, is designed to promote and safeguard consumers’ interests by helping them identify better businesses, while encouraging garages to raise their standards of customer service.
In recognition of the unique technical complexity of motor vehicles the motor industry enjoys a so-called ‘block exemption’ from some aspects of European competition law.
Essentially this block exemption regulation permits the industry to operate selective and exclusive distribution through franchised dealer networks while safeguarding key consumer rights concerning the purchase, maintenance and repair of vehicles.
The motor industry “block exemption” regulations were last renewed in 2002 when a number of changes were introduced to increase competition in sales and servicing/repair.
Car owners are able to have their vehicles serviced and repaired by independent garages without affecting the warranty (providing parts matching original specification are used and the manufacturer’s service schedule is followed).
The independent garage trade and motoring organisations have benefited from formal requirements for car manufacturers to provide technical information as they do for their own franchised dealers.
AA – Right To Repair
If you do choose an independent garage over a franchised dealership, make sure it is VAT-registered and the parts and fluids used are genuine manufacturer products. Get receipts and part serial numbers to prove this.
Ensure you adhere to your car’s servicing schedule and that the service book is updated.
Bear in mind that repairs and warranty work must be carried out at a franchised dealer in order that your warranty remains valid.
As always shop around – costs can and do vary, often wildly, even between franchised dealers of the same manufacturer. Don’t think just because you bought the car from them the same dealer is the best (or cheapest) place to get your car serviced.
Advice from the OFT:
Before you buy ask the salesperson these questions:
• Is the warranty covered by the SMMT code which permits servicing by independent garages?
• How much will the servicing costs be? (Compare them to other garages in your area)
• How much leeway is there if I cannot get the car serviced in accordance with the approved servicing schedule?
• How long does the manufacturer’s warranty last?
• What does it cover?
• When does the dealer’s warranty start and what does it cover?
• Is every fault covered by the manufacturer’s/dealer’s warranty?
• What isn’t covered by the manufacturer’s / dealer’s warranty?
• Is the warranty restricted by the amount of mileage I do?
• If I have an accident but I get the car repaired, is the warranty affected?
When you’re thinking of buying a new car it’s worth comparing warranties as well as cars –it can save you a lot of time and money later.