What Price Would You Pay? – Block Exemption Regulation Update
On 1st June 2010 the European Commission introduced a new block exemption regulation to safeguard motorists’ freedom to choose where they get their cars serviced and repaired and to ensure competition between the vehicle’s franchised dealers and local independent garages. Under this legislation:
- Car manufacturers must make access to technical information freely available to independent garages.
- Car manufacturers cannot insist that during a warranty period you must have your car serviced in their franchised dealership; in fact the opposite is true.
(Without information, independent garages would be unable to repair and service cars and motorists would have no option but to have their car serviced at a franchised dealer. ”Without effective competition what price would you pay?”) Under the legislation you will not invalidate your warranty as long as ‘the car has been serviced to the manufacturer’s specification using original equipment or matching quality parts’. (This means that from the day take ownership of the car you have the freedom of choice. ”Without effective competition what price would you pay?”) Beware…, if you have purchased an additional or extended warranty, you will have exercised your freedom of choice and decided that all servicing is carried out in the vehicle’s manufacturers franchised dealerships. Work that is covered by the warranty must still be undertaken by the franchised dealer. The language used by the vehicle manufacturers can be confusing, particularly with regard to the quality of parts. Original Equipment
- These parts are the same as were fitted to the vehicle when it was built. The vast majority of components fitted to a car aren’t made by the car manufacturer, but are purchased from specialist component manufacturers.
- Original equipment parts don’t have to carry the vehicle manufacturer’s brand as exactly the same parts are available in the component manufacturer’s brand.
- These parts are manufactured by other component manufacturers which are certified as being of the same quality as those originally fitted to the car.
- Genuine parts is a description sometimes used by vehicle manufacturers to describe parts that they brand.
There is absolutely no requirement under European legislation to fit ”genuine” parts. To ensure you don’t invalidate your warranty, service and repair must be carried out using Original Equipment (OE) parts or Matched Quality parts. Now you have the facts you have the freedom of choice – the local independent garage of the franchised dealer. For further information:
- You can view the legislation on the European Commission’s website.
- You can contact the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF)
- You can contact the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF)
If you are buying a new car and have been told that:
You will invalidate your warranty if you have it serviced other than at the franchised dealership
The dealership are saying you have have invalidated your warranty in having the car serviced outside the dealership…
…then you should quote the Block Exemption Regulation (BER 461/2010) to them. If they still refuse to accept any liability you should ask them to state their reasons in writing and report abuse to:
- Your local trading standards on: Tel: 08454 04 05 06 or www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
- The Office of Fair Trading: Tel: 08454 04 05 06 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The European Commission: Tel: 00 800 6789 10 11 or ec.europa.eu
- The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF): Tel: 0845 3131 506 or www.iaaf.co.uk
- The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF): Tel: 0845 8399 205 or www.rmif.co.uk