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Right to Repair

Good news for car owners

You have the choice of where to service your car from the day you purchase it from the dealership throughout her entire life cycle.

In the past, when you purchased a car, the dealer would quote you on a price and then tell you about the added benefits that are ‘free’. We know that the benefit of a maintenance and service plan added onto your car’s purchase is far from free, but rather the price of the new vehicle has these costs worked into it. 

As a consumer, you now have the right to decide if you want to include these items at the costs offered, or you may choose to purchase them from an alternate supplier.

And here’s the GREAT NEWS: You can do this without the dealers threatening to withdraw the warranty of your car!

What is the Right to Repair & Competition Commission

Right to Repair South Africa (R2RSA) is a non-profit organization that started six years ago to advocate for vehicle owners to have the freedom to choose their repairer.

The Competition Commission is a statutory body constituted by the government of South Africa to investigate, control and evaluate restrictive business practices to achieve equality and efficiency in our economy.

The Competition Commission drafted guidelines for fair competition within the motor industry. These guidelines will work hand in hand with the existing Competition Act of SA, which ‘prohibits unfair and anti-competitive behaviour.’

The guidelines drafted by the Competition Commission in respect to the R2R’s goals will allow access for independent aftermarket provider to the automotive market’s critical technical information, multi-brand diagnostic tools and test equipment, replacement parts and training to service and repair OEM vehicles.

Benefits to the car owner - Freedom of choice:

  • OEM's won't be allowed to bundle a service plan, motor plan or other value-added products onto your car's purchase amount. It must be a separate product which the consumer can then decide to purchase or not.
  • A car owner can choose what service provider they wish to use to service, maintain or repair their car, and the warranty will sit with that service provider to warrant that component on the vehicle. An OEM cannot penalize the car owner for fitment of non-original parts or accessories.
  • Independent service providers now have access to the same technical information, programming tools and training as the OEM approved workshops. To ensure that a car owner's vehicle can be serviced safely and correctly from any service provider they choose.

How the R2R effects you, the motorist

The R2R safeguards car owner’s right to affordable and convenient service on your car.

You have purchased a new vehicle and paid a lot for it. You have the right to know that you will get what you paid for, and you have the right to expect that the vehicle will run and operate for a specific initial period with complete Peace of Mind. And if something should go wrong during this initial period, the supplier is obliged to repair or replace the components at no cost to you, the consumer.

As per the Consumer Protection Act, the service provider will be liable for the warranty on the part of the vehicle that they serviced. For example: if a service provider fixed the roof rack then the provider is only responsible for failure or damage caused to that component.

The R2R campaign forces service providers to explicitly explain a consumers warranty.

What is a Service Plan, Maintenance Plan and Warranty

  • Service Plan - is a product offered by car dealers that is restricted to the service components of your vehicle. The consumer pays typically upfront for this product. The service items and components that make up a service plan are usually limited to parts that require a frequent change at predetermined service intervals. Example: oil, fuel filter, air filter. It is always restricted to a limited amount of services, limited to a maximum mileage or time frame.
  • Maintenance Plan - is a product or policy similar to a service plan and often provided by third-party insurance type companies, and sold via dealerships. These products can be built into the monthly vehicle repayment or can be purchased upfront. These products typically include a little more than the items offered in a service plan. They can range from minor maintenance items, e.g. brakes and wiper blades to more expensive drive train (engine, gearbox etc.) items.
  • Vehicle Warranty - is a promise by a service provider, that the manufacturer or factory parts that are defected will be repaired or replaced within a specific time period or mileage at the service providers expense. These part items under warranty vary between service providers and brands, and generally includes engine, gearbox, electric components, fuel systems, audio systems and sensors. Wear and tear items generally won’t under warranty. Example: tyres and brakes.

How this affects the Motor Industry

We stand for quality workmanship, quality parts and safety for the consumer.

In the world we live in today cars are becoming more and more like computers on wheels. These technical innovations allow for a safer and more comfortable commute, but the innovation makes it increasingly more challenging to service and repair.

The Right to Repair (R2R) campaign is a movement in the South African motor industry to ensure fair competition in the automotive repair supply chain. Countries such as North America and Europe have similarly gone through this movement with great success for the motor industry market as a whole.

Gunther Schmitz, chairman of R2RSA, phrased it well when he said, “We want an environment where consumers can select where their vehicles are serviced, maintained and repaired, at competitive prices and in the workshop of their choice, and which gives aftermarket Small Medium Enterprises a chance to stay in business. We believe that the Commission’s Guideline will follow the international Right to Repair trend, which promotes South Africa’s existing consumer and competition laws.”

Independent workshops will now have access to the automotive market’s critical technical information, multi-brand diagnostic tools and test equipment, replacement parts and training to service and repair OEM vehicles. More access to the market by service providers will increase competition.

Increased competition in the motor industry space is suitable for South Africa’s economy because it will lead to better prices, better quality of parts and better service. Giving car owners a choice to shop around for the best deal that suits their needs will allow for all businesses within the automotive space to be profitable and competitive. Active real growth for our economy is going to happen in our small to medium-sized business space. 

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