Mar 302004

OFTUsed car buyers are being urged to consider the OFT’s advice on checking the terms and conditions of new car warranties.

Independent automotive warranty provider, Warranty Direct, believes the OFT’s current campaign needs to be extended to the 5m people who buy a used car from a dealer every year.

OFT research suggests that over two thirds of motorists assume their warranty will be invalidated if they use a garage outside of the manufacturer’s approved network.

“Franchised dealers are fully aware that the average consumer has a limited understanding of his or her rights when it comes to servicing a warranty,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “As a result, they play on the car owners fears. The argument that independent garages will provide substandard work simply doesn’t wash.”

“The fact is many employ ex-franchise trained technicians or are part of well established nationwide chains, like Unipart Car Care, which adhere to stringent quality controls.”

He added: “In this instance, the OFT has got it right. Publicising the rights of the public to consider independent garages and instil some long overdue competition into the marketplace. The real problem, however, is that the restrictions and pressure is at its worst in the used car segment.”

Dealers, both franchised and independent, control over 90 percent of sales of used vehicles aged 0-2 years, 80 percent of those aged 3-5 and somewhere close to 60 percent of 6-8 year old cars.*1

“People still prefer to buy a used car from a franchised dealer, which, in the majority of cases, is sold with a warranty wrapped into the price. Here, owners need to check that the policy does not come with any restrictions – something very few do, to their cost later on.”

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