Servicing of vehicles under warranty by privateers: 'I won't take the chance' - reader

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Mario Gonzalez, a car mechanic for 23 years, works in his garage after being closed for two months during the restrictions due to the quarantine by Covid-19 on July 01, 2020.
Mario Gonzalez, a car mechanic for 23 years, works in his garage after being closed for two months during the restrictions due to the quarantine by Covid-19 on July 01, 2020.
Guillermo Legaria

• New changes will come into effect on 1 July 2021 for the automotive industry.
• These changes will impact OEMs, dealerships, workshops and consumers.
• Wheels24 reader HB says he won't chancing this option. 
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.

Earlier in February, Wheels24 reported on the newly published rules by the Competition Commission regarding the servicing of new vehicles by privateers that would come into effect as of July 2021.

Wheels24 reader HB writes to us about servicing of vehicles under warranty by privateers. Here's what he has to say:

"An old Chinese proverb says: 'be careful what you wish for'. 

"You will have 'freedom' of choice, but it comes with consequences.

"Modern cars are no longer serviced by merely replacing the oil, filters, sparkplugs and points. Sophisticated and expensive electronic diagnostic equipment is needed, and proper training (and understanding) in use thereof. Simple example - my car has sensors that continuously measure the ride height to determine if it has a flat or deflating tyre, and if so, a warning will appear. By merely replacing a tyre, the system has to be recalibrated. Lo and behold, if something more serious occurs!

READ | Buying or servicing a car? Take note as things are about to change

"How a manufacturer will be able to honour its warranty or guarantee in an uncontrolled servicing environment is merely mind-boggling. It is like being made responsible for someone else's child's care and well-being, not even living in your household. Behold, therefore, if you have a warranty claim in a privateer servicing environment - vehicle manufacturers have trillion-dollar stakes in their reputational brand value. They will not roll over and accept your claim without some serious investigation and possibly litigation - and the onus of proof is on your side.

Fazlin Kasker speaks to a customer in the workshop.

"We all know that a new vehicle depreciates in the region of between 10 and 15 %when you take the ribbon from the bonnet and drive out of the showroom. Suppose you chose to go the privateer servicing route and wanted to trade in your vehicle (especially within the warranty period) on a new one. In that case, you will almost certainly be offered a significantly discounted trade-in value. Your vehicle will depreciate faster than the money under your mattress.

"Call me cynical, but I will not take the chance. However, it's your choice.

"On another note, there's something else that will be interesting to see how it plays out.

"Although the original manufacturer may now not enforce servicing within its own or approved servicing facilities, this does not apply to third party financiers independent of the vehicle manufacturer. They will surely make it a condition of the financing agreement regarding when, where, and how a vehicle financed by them must be maintained.

"If I were one of them, I would make sure to reduce the risk of ownership. The prescribed maintenance must be performed by either the manufacturer dealer network or its appointed service agents for the financing agreement's duration. They may well provide the option of opting out hereof, but the additional risk will be priced into the financing terms.

"It's like drawing cash from an OTM - with your own bank, the cost is R1, but using the OTM of another bank, the charge is R2."

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of contributors, columnists or readers published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24 or Wheels24.

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