There are some issues regarding car services that need to be understood, notably warranties. You don’t actually have to have a degree in commerce to understand the issues, but some motorists could be forgiven for thinking they might need a law degree when they’re getting car service and trying to figure out the warranty issues.
Modern cars are complex bits of technology, and they may require special parts or “genuine parts” for warranty purposes. There may also be a range of warranties, like statutory warranties, dealer warranties, and service warranties, to be considered.
All these things can impact on your choice of car service. Many car models have “authorized repairers”, etc., which can get a bit confusing when you’re not sure if your warranty requires it to be handled by a particular repairer.
Generally speaking, the statutory warranties take precedence over the commercial warranties. These warranties are required by law, and are supposed to be “rule books” for basic commercial work done for car servicing and repairs. It is possible, however, to void some warranties by getting work done which is outside their terms.
Checking your warranties
You need to be clear on your rights for warranty work, so it’s best to systematically check any warranties you may have or have been offered by a car dealer. There are three basic types of warranty which may relate to cars:
Statutory warranties: This is a basic warranty based on legislation. This warranty is the main guideline for your rights to warranty work on your purchase of goods or services, so it’s very important. The statutory warranty will cover refunds, compensation, repair and/or replacement for faulty goods or not suitable for the purpose they were bought, don’t match the advertised sample or have deficiencies. If you buy a car with defects, you have a prima facie right to compensation either by work being done on the vehicle to restore it or a refund.
Dealer warranties: These are commercial warranties. They’re given over and above the statutory warranty by car dealers. They apply to the specific purchase of a car and may vary depending on the dealer’s offer. They may relate to car repair or specific services at the dealer’s discretion.
Car service warranties: The warranty from your car service people is also a commercial warranty. It applies specifically to their parts and labour, not to any other warranty or guarantee in relation to the vehicle. The best car service companies provide a full warranty on all their labour and parts.
Getting help if you have difficulties with your warranty
There are several places you can get help if you’re having trouble getting warranty work done or refunds:
• The statutory regulator: The regulator can advise regarding your rights and suggest avenues of approach to enforce your rights.
• Statutory tribunals: Many warranty disputes can be resolved by the statutory regulators either by negotiation or arbitration.
• Legal advice: Some courts may provide free legal advice, or alternatively you can seek advice from a pro bono lawyer.
The basic rule is to know your rights and understand your entitlements. If you’re not sure, ask. You will get the answers you need.