Ombud confirms dealership debate
THE Motor Industry Workshop Association (Miwa) recently took an issue regarding over-the-counter parts to the office of the Motor Industry Ombudsman and, according to Miwa chair Les McMaster, the response sets the record straight for dealerships looking to hold their customers to ransom when it comes to replacing parts.
McMaster said a member in KwaZulu-Natal recently forwarded him this notification sent out by a motor dealership in the area: Parts supplied over the counter can only be returned for claims via our workshop. The vehicle has to come to the selling dealer and the customer must pay for diagnostic and also pay for a new part. Only once the claim is processed and approved by (dealer name) South Africa, will the selling dealer reimburse the customer only for a part supplied.
McMaster said: “Our immediate concern was that this practice is in breach of the Consumer Protection Act and, if allowed, will have farreaching effects for all independent workshops. Miwa represents the interests of some 2 500 independent workshops in SA and this is a good example of the type of concern we address to protect those interests.”
Miwa was elated to have its suspicions confirmed with this response from the Deputy Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa: “It is my humble submission that the supplier is contravening section 15(2)(a) and (b) as well as sub-section (3)(a) and (b) of the CPA. It further appears that the supplier is also contravening section 51 of the CPA. It also ignores the definition of the supply chain in that the consumer does not have to wait for approval from the manufacturer if a component purchased over the counter is defective. The implied warranty imposed by section 56(4) is in addition to any other warranty and the consumer will therefore have six months to return the defective component.”
McMaster added: “This wholly supports Miwa’s promotion of right to repair in South Africa.
“Our new-car market unfortunately still burdens consumers with warranties which dictate the use of genuine parts but in many First World countries, this is a thing of the past and consumers are free to use aftermarket parts in their vehicles without affecting the warranty.”
He said that Miwa is at the forefront of lobbying for change and legislating the right-to-repair initiative in South Africa.
Right to repair has been advocated and legislated in First World countries since the early eighties. It promotes consumers having the right to choose where their vehicles are serviced, maintained and repaired at competitive prices.