New legislation changes have been passed that will allow Aussie motorists to shop around for services and repairs on their vehicles, thanks to research and recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme) Bill 2021 will allow independent retailers to receive access to repair and service information that was previously only made available to certain brand-related retailers.
“Under the scheme, independent Australian motor vehicle repairers will have fair access to the information needed to repair and service cars,” says ACCC Chair, Rod Sims.
“This enables motorists to shop around for the repairer that offers the best price, service and convenience, knowing that they will have access to the information needed to complete the servicing or repair.”
“Previously, only car manufacturers and their affiliated repairers could be confident of getting access to important service and repair information, preventing many independent repairers from competing fairly for car servicing and repair work. This created additional costs for consumers, as well as inconvenience and delays,” continues Sims.
The ACCC’s 2017 New Car Retailing Industry market study found that independent repairers experienced problems accessing information from manufacturers for repairs and servicing, including information regarding software updates to connect spare parts to the vehicle’s onboard computer system.
This was also despite car manufacturers making a voluntary commitment in 2014 to provide information to independent retailers.
“We believe the scheme provides a much fairer opportunity for independent Australian motor vehicle repairers to compete and will improve outcomes for consumers,” says Sims.
“These reforms will ensure consumers benefit from competitive aftermarkets and by having a choice of providers to repair and service cars.”
The Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme is expected to come into effect July 1, 2022, with the ACCC to monitor the implementation and compliance to the scheme, with penalties applying to manufacturers who do not pass on information.
How much do Aussies spend on servicing their car?
According to research from Canstar Blue’s 2020 Car Servicing Chains report, Australians spent around $650 on their most recent servicing, with two-thirds of those surveyed also not sticking to their logbook servicing recommendations, highlighting that some may be avoiding the mechanic due to high costs associated with a lack of competition.
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