26 September 2023

New laws to drive car repairs

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Consumers are to have more choice about where they have their cars serviced and repaired following legislative changes to adopt recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims said the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme) Bill 2021 amended the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to establish a mandatory scheme to promote competition in the Australian automotive servicing sector.

“It requires motor vehicle service and repair information to be made available for purchase by Australian repairers at a fair market price,” Mr Sims said.

“Under the scheme, independent Australian motor vehicle repairers will have fair access to the information needed to service and repair cars, such as software updates to connect a new spare part with a car, or information and codes for computerised systems from the car manufacturer,” he said.

“This enables motorists to shop around for the repairer that offers the best price, service and convenience, knowing they will all have access to the information needed to complete the servicing or repair.”

Mr Sims said that previously only car manufacturers and their affiliated repairers could be confident they’d have access to important service and repair information, a situation which prevented many independent repairers from competing fairly for car servicing and repair work.

The Chair said this created additional costs for consumers, as well as inconvenience and delays.

“We believe the scheme provides a much fairer opportunity for independent Australian motor vehicle repairers to compete and will improve outcomes for consumers, and we welcome this important reform,” he said.

“These reforms will ensure consumers benefit from competitive aftermarkets and by having a choice of providers to repair and service cars.”

Mr Sims said the ACCC’s 2017 New Car Retailing Industry Market Study found independent repairers experienced problems accessing information needed to repair and service new cars despite a voluntary commitment made by car manufacturers in 2014 to provide them with the same information as authorised dealers.

The ACCC’s 194-page Market Study can be accessed at this PS News link.

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