Motoring

You can choose an independent after-service provider instead of your dealer

Access to large, well-equipped vehicle workshops is all fine, but there are less impressive facilities offering equal or better technical services at more competitive prices.

As much as we love progress, change can often bring uncertainty, but one thing is clear: the new Guidelines for Competition, commonly known as the “Right to Repair” rules, are opening up a whole new world of choice for consumers.

Developments across the industry since the guidelines coming into effect in July 2021, have really supported consumer choice and made motorists think twice about the service they actually need. “For most South Africans, shopping around is natural, so why should this be any different when it comes to the servicing of your car?” said Kate Elliott, CEO of Right to Repair SA.

It is a common marketing tool of some manufacturers and dealers to paint all independent service providers (ISPs) with the same brush, insinuating that they are all backyard mechanics who cannot be trusted with your new vehicle. This is simply not true. While we agree that you should not take your car to anyone with a spanner advertising themselves as a mechanic, there are a whole host of providers out in the independent market who are more than capable of responsibly and professionally taking care of your car.

There is a rising sector of extremely professional and reputable ISPs that offer excellent service without the eye-watering price tag. The reality is you will often find the same mechanics working in between the dealers and the ISPs.

In order to qualify to service your vehicle, ISPs are required to have adequate commercial insurance to cover any potential claim relating to the voiding of a car’s warranty or portion thereof, follow manufacturer specifications, use matching quality parts and materials and record the service in the car’s service book. When it really comes down to it, there really is no difference between the dealers and the ISPs, except for potentially the price, and maybe the historical perception that the dealer is always better.

“So while you must watch who you take your vehicle to, assert your right to choose and don’t be pressurised into the decision. Remember, you have the right to shop around, just do it responsibly.

“In the end, bells and whistles will always appeal to us. It’s simply human nature, but why should you have to pay for them, when you know all you really need is a car that works?” concluded Elliott.

Source: Cathy Findley PR

Matthys Ferreira

Served in SAPS for 22 years - specialised in forensic and crime scene investigation and forensic photography. A stint in photographic sales and management followed. Been the motoring editor at Lowveld Media since 2007. "A petrol head I am not but I am good at what I do".
 
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