Om­bud con­firms deal­er­ship de­bate

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

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