FOR WHOM THE BILL TOLLS

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cars Guide Confidential - Twit­ter @JoshuaDowl­ing

THE con­sumer watch­dog is tak­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into capped-price ser­vic­ing se­ri­ously. A week af­ter tak­ing Kia to task, it has its sights on the Top 10 brands.

One popular marque has al­ready re­moved the capped-price-ser­vic­ing scheme from its web­site (although the in­for­ma­tion is still avail­able at deal­er­ships).

The prob­lem is this: most car brands had clauses in their terms and con­di­tions that al­lowed for price rises over time with in­fla­tion or due to other fac­tors. But the ACCC says the price must stay fixed at the price set when the car was bought.

Chances are the capped-price­ser­vic­ing schemes in­tro­duced by most brands may fall foul of this rul­ing. The down­side is that buy­ers will likely be worse off if ser­vice costs re­turn to free mar­ket pric­ing, where the bill is any­one’s guess.

Only this week a friend booked her car in for a rou­tine capped price ser­vice that was sup­posed to cost $294 — but the dealer tried to bill her $550. Luck­ily she checked the web­site and queried the bill.

Where would she stand if there was no capped-price-ser­vic­ing scheme?

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