The VAG SPEC CENTRE GROUP is perfectly aligned to service customers under the new Right2Repair campaign. We have been ready for this for a very long time. VAG Spec not only offers highly trained technicians with years of experience in their respective fields but also excellent customer service as well as state of the art diagnostic tools as well as all special tools to get any job done on your VW, Audi or SEAT.
About Right to Repair South Africa
Right to Repair SA has been founded by the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) representing 2500 independent workshops and automotive aftermarket distributors and parts manufacturers.
Objective Of The Campaign
Right to Repair SA aims to ensure fair competition in the automotive repair supply chain.
The consumer must have freedom of choice out of the various offerings by a multitude of independent companies which offer him the combination of service and price that caters to his individual needs.
In this perspective, full access to technical information, the freedom to source and supply replacement parts as well as diagnostic tools and test equipment is most crucial for all market operators to exert their professions and to be able to offer their competitive products and services for the benefit of motoring consumers. Only this ensures drivers the right to decide where to have their vehicle serviced and repaired. Such rights require that vehicle manufacturers efficiently and affordably make available to independent operators all software, tools and repair information needed to service the vehicle.
This will not just benefit the consumer but also ensure long term broad based economic growth.
A second aspect of the campaign is to level the playing field between the manufacturers, parts suppliers and workshops, including the manufacturer approved workshops. Legislation needs to support this during the entire lifecycle of a vehicle, thereby assuring continuous cost-effective mobility.
Right to Repair SA is a registered not for profit company. Membership is open to anybody active in the automotive aftermarket that supports our objective.
You Now Have The Freedom Of Choice
Finally, from 1 July 2021, you, the consumer, have the right to choose the service provider to service or repair your beloved vehicle. Your warranty will not be voided if you service or repair with an Independent Service Provider (ISP) and you are no longer forced into service or maintenance plans. You have the right to choose.
What does this mean for the consumer?
1. Choice of service provider
Simply put, it means the consumer can now decide where and who will service your vehicle. You no longer HAVE to service or repair at the approved dealership, you have the right to choose an ISP if you so wish.
2. Choice of parts fitted
You have the choice to fit original or non-original parts by the approved dealer or ISP of your choice. Even during the warranty period. For peace of mind, look for Original Equipment Equivalent (OEE) parts which is of the same quality as the original and very often produced by the same factory.
You must understand which parts are categorised under which description. OE Parts (Original Equipment parts), these parts are from a company who design parts and therefor own rights on the part even though they subcontract the parts out to other companies.
OEM Parts (original equipment manufacturer parts), are parts purchased directly from vehicle manufacturer, Volkswagen and Audi in our case, they are made to specifically fit the specific vehicle. They are generally more expensive but they are perfectly designed.
Aftermarket parts, these parts are designed by a company that is different to the manufacturer. This is the cheapest option but mainly due to the way products are designed to make use of lower quality.
Issue with the right to repair
The issue with right to repair is even though the choice is yours to have your goods repaired yourself or via a professional it does not mean the job is adequately done. When people are allowed to repair their own cars, for example, the competency to do so may not be enough to solve the problem. In actual fact it could snowball into an even bigger issue. The solution to this would be that with the right to repair should come educational advice from manufacturers allowing consumers the information to know where to buy proper parts and how to conduct repairs properly and most importantly safely.
There is also comes the issue with liability of repairs gone wrong. When consumers do their own work on their cars there arises the issue of liability when the car is now broken even further due to incompetence and no one want to leave consumers without an option. Therefor consumers must keep this in mind when excising the right to repair.
Why would you even care about the Right to Repair?
The right to repair really pushes hard for consumer to have the right to repair their own products. Consumers themselves will always have problems repairing their own devices if they are not properly trained thus it leaves consumers no choice but to make use of 1st party (manufacturers) to fix their goods and this is not cost-effective. Now you have a choice on how you spend your money and where. Fixing items is also more cost-effective in the long run when keeping in mind longevity of products you can repair instead of throw away.
It is also important for small business owners who choose to go in the sale and repair of aftermarket products. This legislation gives them a chance to grow in this economy and prove their worth in the eyes of consumers and competing businesses. The right to repair is helping our industry thrive.
Cars today are so technologically advanced and due to the fact that luxury is so prioritized in vehicles it makes the repair so much more incomprehensible unless you are a competent person in the automotive world. When people are not given access to user manuals, repair procedure, equipment, software, parts, training, and any other components necessary to privately carry out repairs then we would lose the entire aftermarket motor industry and that would mean an entire industry of business lost, an entire industry of growth lost and a part of our economy that will be left unused. It will leave consumers with limited to no choice as to where their cars will be repaired and what they can afford will never again be given any importance.
When there is a loss of competition in the economy, we also lose innovation. Active competition is what signals a healthy economy. Every product that is in circulation was once a ground-breaking invention that took the world by storm. Innovation changes the way we view our lives and they affect prosperity of an industry. More competition allows for a greater amount of needs met and satisfied which allows for new needs to happen so more space to provide and produce. Our country needs economic growth and we need job creation, empowerment and inclusivity and an independent aftermarket is what will drive an opportunity like that.
Your right to repair is a part of that aftermarket dream. And the aim is the same.
What about your community’s interests?
Our community want choice and they want options. We have family and friends that offer mechanical services in their back yards. Regardless of conventionality or opinion, these people do this to survive. The right to repair gives them the right to continue operating and providing bread for their table. We are empowering local first above all else. In our society so many garages, workshops, aftermarket manufacturers, body repairs, panel beaters and others have started. Now we all have so much choice that it’s actually so easy to choose wrong. Our community needs job creation, competition and economic progress. Allowing many more opportunities to grow within this industry benefits the community just as much as any other factor. To revoke the right to repair would cause the downfall of all these markets and would seriously jeopardise the interests of the community and the condition of the economy which in effect only further jeopardise the community.
Add Your Heading Text Here
Your choice will now be much bigger and you can really shop around for an ISP which suits you. You can now have repairs and services done by experts outside of the dealer network
Like elsewhere in the world, you will now have the option to buy your new vehicle without a service or maintenance plan. You even have the choice to opt for plan from an independent provider. This means that the dealers now have to unbundle the price of the car and the service/maintenance plans.
The Right2Repair campaign ensures fair competition in the automotive industry. Prices on parts and labour rates will now be far more competitive than ever before.
Frequently asked Questions (as per right2repair.org.za)
Please note, that the following is only an explanation of the R2R guidelines and is not legal advice. If an OEM or the distribution network of an OEM does not follow the guidelines published by the Competitions Commission, we advise that this is reported to the competition commission in the form of a complaint. A complaint form can be found on the Commission website www.compcom.co.za.
The final decision on the implementation of the guidelines lies solely with the Competitions Commission.
The first point to note is that the guidelines are exactly that, guidelines as to how the Commission will approach any matter in terms of the Competitions Act. The underlying legal basis is the Competition Act, and it is the principles of this Act that will form the basis of enforcing the guidelines.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that other existing laws, acts, and regulations remain relevant and do not change e.g., the Consumer Protection Act which specifically addresses consumer rights against parts failure and/or faulty workmanship.
The Guidelines are now in force and came into effect on 1 July 2021.
Who can service cars under warranty?
Independent Service Providers (“ISPs”) are already allowed to service cars under warranty. Car owners are, however, now empowered to choose where they service their vehicles without risk of voiding the warranty. Previously, motor manufacturers would void the warranty if a vehicle was not serviced at the dealership during the warranty period. The Commission has now declared this practice as incompatible with the Competition Act. Independent service providers can now service cars under warranty and the practice of voiding warranties is now unlawful. This includes cars that were sold prior to 1 July 2021 which were sold without an embedded maintenance and/or service plan.
Do ISPs have to be registered with an organization such as the RMI to service in-warranty vehicles?
No. ISPs do not need to be registered with any industry specific organization to service an in-warranty vehicle.
When can a Manufacturer lawfully decline a warranty?
If a manufacturer finds that a warranty related failure is due to inferior quality parts, incorrect service procedures or faulty workmanship they are within their rights to decline the warranty. As stipulated in the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (“the CPA”), the liability in such an instance will lie with the ISP and/or the parts supplier/importer.
How is a consumer covered in a warranty dispute if the ISP uses inferior parts or if the ISP’s workmanship is at fault?
As mentioned above the consumer is protected under the provisions of the CPA. If there is a warranty dispute, the consumer should refer the claim to his/her service provider and the service provider, which claim should be covered by the service provider’s insurance provider. The guidelines in fact, specify that ISPs must disclose to consumers whether they have adequate commercial insurance cover. We strongly recommend that consumers use only those ISPs who can provide proof of adequate commercial insurance.
Do ISPs need to use specific parts for servicing vehicles under warranty?
No, but as mentioned above if a manufacturer finds that a warranty related failure is due to inferior quality parts, they are within their rights to decline the warranty. It is therefore important that ISPs procure parts from reputable suppliers and use only recognized, quality parts when servicing a vehicle.
What are your recommendations for ISPs to avoid liability?
To avoid the risk of a manufacture refusing to honour a warranty, we recommend that all services be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications:
Fluids used should conform to manufacturer’s specifications.
Parts manufacturers and suppliers (especially for filters) should confirm that their parts perform at the same or a higher standard than the original parts.
It is recommended that ISPs purchase parts from manufacturers that manufacture on behalf of the manufacturer as well as the independent aftermarket. Good examples of these types of brands include Mahle, Bosch, NGK, GUD, Hella, Temot, Fram, Safeline, Monroe, Mann and Hummel, amongst others.
ISPs should only use parts from suppliers that provide indemnity for damages (including consequential damages) should their parts be found to be at fault.
Are there any other requirements for ISPs?
ISPs are required to record the service history in the service book or in the electronic service record of the vehicle to allow traceability should there be a warranty issue at a later stage. A caveat to this is that the ISP must also be given access to previous service history.
ISPs are also required by the Guidelines to disclose to consumers, in clear and explicit terms, the risk of damage that could arise from the ISP’s work, including consequential damage to the consumer’s vehicle, which may potentially void certain obligations of the manufacture in terms of the warranty.
Can ISP’s carry out warranty work?
No. Warranty repairs must always be referred to the manufacturer’s approved dealer.
What about extended warranties, motor plans, service plans or insurance work, where should these repairs/services be performed?
In very simple terms, whoever pays, decides where the work can be carried out.
If a consumer has chosen to purchase an extended warranty and the repair falls under the warranty, then the repair will be undertaken by a repairer approved by the provider of the extended warranty.
Motor plans/Service plans:
The consumer may now choose to purchase a service plan from whoever is offering one, that consumer will then have their vehicle serviced by the workshop specified in the plan.
Where a repair is not covered by insurance the consumer may choose whom will repair the vehicle, while a repair that is covered by insurance will be attended to by a repairer on the insurance company’s panel.
What if a vehicle is in an accident during the in-warranty period? Who can repair it?
If the consumer is insured, the vehicle must be referred by the consumer’s insurer to a manufacturer approved repairer to ensure that the integrity of the consumer’s warranty is protected while the accident-related repairs are being attended to.
If the consumer is not insured, it is up to the consumer which service provider he/she choses to repair the vehicle, however, we strongly recommend that consumers refer their vehicles to a reputable ISP, who holds adequate commercial insurance to ensure that they are covered should they need to make a warranty claim at a later stage.
An important thing to note would then also be to know the difference between warranties, service plans and maintenance plans.
Warranties are often bought when you buy your vehicle and is bought from the car manufacturer. The warranty is an assurance that any parts that fail prematurely will be repaired and/or replaced. This is only if the cause was not by external factors.
Due to new guidelines manufacturers cannot void a warranty as long as car has been serviced timely and at an ISP that corresponds with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Motorist, however, are not actually allowed to take their car to an ISP for warranty related repairs. The manufacturer themselves are responsible for the repairs.
Items normally included under warranty are normally engine, fuel system-and pump, driveshafts and axles, brake components, etc.
Service plans usually cover service parts as well as labour cost related to the service. All costs and in accordance with the car manufacturers (OEM) Service schedule.
Items regularly included in this plan are things like oils, filters, sparkplugs and other items typically included in a service. It is the right of the customers when buying a vehicle to be given the service plan separately with all items and their cost all separately listed.
Service plans do not include maintenance items that are needed due to misuse of the car, modifications or accidents.
Customers must have the right to decide whether or not to purchase the service plan for the vehicle. If you do, however, purchase the service plan you can only take your car to your dealership. Your manufacturer is not required to pay any cost for work done at an ISP if you have a service plan.
Labour costs are generally covered. Also, if certain repairs are not included in this plan, you will most likely find it in a maintenance plan. The plan will detail what you covered for and what not.
This plan is basically a comprehensive service plan. This plan covers scheduled services as well as items that need repair/replacement due to normal wear-and-tear. Items that are covered include brake pads, wiper blades and also major items like clutch and gearbox.
These plans are also set for fixed periods of time, usually the plan would be set for example 7 years or 105 000 km. These are basic time periods for such plans.
What are some of the other important changes put forward by these new guidelines?
First and foremost, the consumer when purchasing a new vehicle, is now armed with the choice of whether they want to include the service plan. Put another way, service plans can no longer be embedded into the metal. This means that other independent providers can also price service plans, making for a more competitive market.
Secondly, the Competition Commission has given guidance around the appointment of motor-body repairers by insurance companies and manufacturers, with the objective of “lowering barriers to entry and ensuring that a greater number of firms, especially firms owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals and small to medium enterprises have the opportunity to undertake service, maintenance and repair work of motor vehicles within the period covered by a motor vehicle’s warranty.” For insurance companies, this revolves around a fair appointment process and a fair allocation of work. Similar principles will be applied to the appointment of dealerships which criteria must be reasonable.
What technical information will be made available to independent service providers?
Similar to the EU and US, all technical information required to assess, service and repair vehicles must be made available by the manufacturers to the ISPs. The exact methodology needs to be established but will likely take guidance from current practices in both the EU and the US.
As you can see the right to repair encompasses so many things that we are often not even aware of. The effect of not having the right to repair is incomprehensible. The right to choose is yours, but it is your responsibility to choose wisely and make decisions that you can live with. At VAG Spec centre we highly regard your right to choose and we want you to have the best possible option when servicing, repairing or maintaining your car. We have many times been able to offer prices that were unbeatable and we offer these prices for you. Exercise your Right To Repair and your right to choose and choose VAG Spec centre.