The Australian government has mandated regulations when it comes to purchasing items and a failure occurs. The wording effectively translates to “having a reasonable expectation of a working life”, and means that something like a TV that comes with a 24 month warranty should be expected to perform well beyond that period.
The Australian car industry is moving towards that direction and it’s been reassuring to see that the manufacturers are and have moved to four, five, seven year warranties. However there is a hiccup, and it’s in the form of independent repairers being able to access the information held by the car manufacturers when it comes to a repair situation.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Rod Sims, points out: “some manufacturers had also been found to be misleading consumers by writing in manuals that car owners must only go to authorised dealers for repairs if they wanted to maintain warranties.”
In February of 2019 the Federal Government released a consultation paper, which points towards a scheme for the sharing of repair information. This is intended to free up access to the required information an independent repairer needs and can be sourced from a manufacturer.
Part of the intent of this information sharing is to assist smaller repairers in respect to the current “one size fits all” access model, where a repairer effectively has to subscribe to a database that provides information on every single make and model of vehicle available.
By opening up access, a repairer that may specialise in a specific European brand, for example, or a limited number of European brands, should theoretically be able to access ONLY the desired marques, rather than plough through a huge list of irrelevancies.
Locations can also play a part here. It can be unrealistic to expect an owner in a near city rural or distant city rural area to undertake what could be a substantial journey for a service or repair.
As it stands, the ACCC has concerns that some aspects of the wording of the consultation paper, a paper designed to open up dialogue between repairers and manufacturers, is still in favour of the manufacturers, and will continue to lobby on behalf of the repairers in order to assist over 21,000 different small businesses.