New car warranty terms offer consumers choice and clarity

06 May 2004 #SMMT News

Which? report is fundamentally flawed, says SMMT

SMMT has today slammed a Which? report for pointing the finger at seven car makers over new car warranty conditions on servicing. The magazine claims that servicing through a franchised dealer is still mandatory for many new car warranties, flying in the face of Office of Fair Trading (OFT) concerns published in its new car warranty report last December.

In fact, car companies have responded in full to the OFT concerns and have moved quickly to change terms relating to servicing conditions. Servicing via reputable, non-franchised outlets is now available to buyers of all new cars, without affecting the validity of any of the industry’s free peace-of-mind warranties.

Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive explained, ‘The reality is that the vast majority of consumers prefer to service their car through a local franchised dealer. This is because they have confidence in their expertise and recognise the value of a full dealer history when they come to sell.’

‘Nevertheless, since the OFT published its report into new car warranties last year, terms and conditions have been changed. The industry fully accepts that consumers should have the choice of where to service their cars, although we are still looking for clarification over what level of information should be kept to prove that a maintenance schedule has been met.

‘The fact is this latest Which? report is wrong and sends a confusing message to consumers. It is a cheap shot at an industry which offers comprehensive warranties and has moved quickly to address OFT concerns over new car warranty terms and conditions.’

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