Seth Brees in his Tweed Heads workshop
Seth Brees in his Tweed Heads workshop Blainey Woodham

Automotive industry reforms promises power to consumers

PLACING power in consumer hands is the main aim of the Federal Government's automotive industry reforms.

The Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council recommended three changes to the automotive industry after an inquiry into the repair market.

Included in the recommendations was informing motorists they do not need to have their vehicle repaired by an authorised repairer to ensure warranty continuation, a voluntary industry code of conduct and ensuring independent workshops were provided with adequate repair information.

Independent mechanic, owner of Brees Automotive, said the changes were great news for the little guys in the industry, as well as consumers.

"They'll go there (dealership) for their $155 dollar service and then they'll get a $1500 service bill when the fixed price servicing period ends," he said. "And there's a trap with extended warranty because it's loyalty based, so they'll continue to go to dealerships."

Mr Brees said often people were not informed they could use independent mechanics and still maintain their car's warranty. "They just don't say anything," he said. "I have had it here previously, they've brought their daughters, or someone's, car in and in the end I tell them and they feel pretty p***ed."

Mr Brees said he sometimes struggled to obtain manufacturers settings for electrical components and his business paid more for everyday automotive parts.

But dealership Southcoast Automotive service manager Darryl Rigney said better service, not deceiving consumers, was why dealerships attracted customers.

"You can buy something at David Jones or you can go to the dollar shop," he said.

"Independents shouldn't get the repair info."

"Manufacturers spend squillions on development, would Apple do that?"

Mr Rigney said it was simply good business sense to attract customers back to the dealership for service.



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