At last, the Right2Repair guidelines put you in the driver's seat when it comes to choosing who services your car, and how much you're willing to pay for it – because why should car manufacturers be making decisions for you?
If you've ever bought a new car, you'll know that a warranty usually prevents you from fitting non-original parts, or having it serviced at a non-approved dealership. Now, some manufacturers (you know who you are 👀) will give you a Service Plan that expires before the car's warranty, effectively forcing you to service your car at one of their franchises and pay the often eye-watering price they set. The alternative? Go wherever you like and have your warranty voided. Rather brilliant (for them), isn't it? And not so great for you. But all that changed on 1 July 2021, when the Right2Repair guidelines threw a spanner 🔧 in the works (see what we did there?)
In a nutshell, the guidelines were created to make sure that all businesses, large or small, that supply car parts in South Africa, have an equal 'right to repair' and supply customers with their products. The result? There's more choice for you, the consumer, making it easier than ever to service your car, especially if cost is an issue.
Yes! The ruling found that manufacturers voiding a customer's warranty if they used an ISP wasn't in line with the Competition Act or the Consumer Protection Act. So now no manufacturer can void your factory warranty without breaking the law. There's now greater competition between South African car parts suppliers, which in turn is good for the economy and means you can have your car serviced for less – leaving you with more money in your pocket at the end of the month. Ka-ching!
When the guidelines weres first put into place in 2021, Cars.co.za reported that big-name manufacturers such as BMW and Toyota were worried that they might not be able to help customers who decided not to choose a built-in service plan when buying a car, though Ford did this in the same year. The fact that big brands have not been happy to publicise exactly how much these service plans cost suggests that the cost is fairly high, according to Les McMaster, Right to Repair South Africa Director.
That said, some retail groups were quick to adapt to the laws and produce new offerings. The Motus group, for example, has created a service plan (where a set fee is charged every month for specific parts and services) for new cars and those that are still under warranty. VW committed to "several changes in relation to the independent aftermarket", according to R2R, which ensures that warranties remain valid if approved ISPs are used for services, maintenance and repairs.
In March this year, Mercedes-Benz announced that it had removed the price of service plans from its car prices and wouldn't automatically void the warranty if repairs or services are done by an ISP. But, if there's an issue with the car during the warranty period, the group will inspect it and, if it finds that previous ISP repairs or spare parts have caused damage to the car in some way, the costs might not be covered by Mercedes-Benz.
Having choices is always a good thing – especially when they translate into savings that help your salary go further. To find the best Service Plans for your needs and budget, simply visit Hippo and use our free online quote comparison tool – and you can take a look at our Motor Warranty options, too.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.