The ACCC is making it easier to understand new car warranties and if consumers need to return to the dealer to ensure that the warranty is maintained. The answer to this depends on the type of warranty.
Warranties offered by vehicle manufacturers
Vehicle manufacturers may offer warranties against defects, commonly called manufacturer's warranties, and also extended warranties.
A manufacturer’s warranty is where the vehicle manufacturer promises consumers that:
- faults or defects will entitle the consumer to repair, replacement, refund or other compensation.
Extended warranties extend the coverage provided in the original manufacturer's warranty.
The manufacturer’s warranty may set out requirements that consumers must comply with. For example, it may require the consumer to ensure any servicing is carried out:
- by qualified staff
- according to the manufacturer's specification
- using appropriate quality parts where required.
Kmart Tyre & Auto Service will service the vehicle in accordance with any such requirements and the warranty will remain valid. If the manufacturer’s warranty states that the vehicle can only be serviced by an authorised dealer, this is likely to raise concerns under the Australian Consumer Law.
The service logbook or manufacturer’s warranty documents for some vehicles appear to require that the servicer:
- is an ‘authorised dealer’ or ‘authorised service department’
- stamps the logbook with an authorised dealer’s stamp, and/or
- fits only genuine manufacturer’s parts.
Even if the logbook or manufacturer’s warranty documents contain these requirements, we are able to sign or stamp the relevant page of the customer’s service logbook—once we have completed the service—without affecting the manufacturer’s warranty.
Warranties offered by dealers
Motor vehicle dealers sometimes offer their own extended warranties on new vehicles. These usually commence at the completion of the manufacturer’s warranty.
A common requirement of these warranties is that the vehicle must be serviced by the dealer offering the warranty. If this is a requirement of a dealer’s extended warranty, an independent repairer will void the warranty if they service the vehicle.