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The Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) has announced the launch of its Right to Repair Campaign.
Les McMaster, Chairman of MIWA, says the association believes that South African legislature needs to follow the international Right to Repair trend, which promotes South Africa’s existing consumer and competition laws.
“There is a need for a fair and competitive regulatory environment that enables freedom of choice for the consumers and that gives aftermarket businesses a chance to stay in business,” he said.
[blue_message]The Right to Repair Campaign allows consumers to select where their vehicles are serviced, maintained and repaired at competitive prices in the workshop of their choice.[/blue_message]
MIWA representatives have been garnering information over the last few months from countries in Europe as well as Australia where Right to Repair campaigns have been successfully implemented – and even legislated in some countries. The South African launch marks the start of a six-month planning and submission phase based on a European plan with the ultimate outcome to change legislation in favour of the aims of the campaign.
“Along with the aim to give motorists the right of choice regarding the aftermarket care of their vehicles, the campaign aims to protect the rights of the independent operators to maintain, service and repair modern vehicles equipped with multiple electronic control units managed by complex software and multiplex networks,” he explained.
The campaign also commits to safeguard independent aftermarket operators’ right to exist, serve and grow. “Only strong, entrepreneurial competition will result in advantageous pricing for consumers and ensure that local businesses can continue to provide quality service in the neighbourhoods they serve and support,” McMaster added.
In some instances the successful Right to Repair campaigns in other countries have lead to the enactment of legislation which dictates that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are required to provide the same information to the independent aftermarket dealers as they already provide to their franchise dealers. Certain Right to Repair legislation also codifies the consumers’ right to choose its preferred dealer without fear of losing their warranty.
“Access to information is increasingly important in an era of technological advancements. Not having access to certain information has allowed OEMs to monopolise the automotive industry by refusing to provide the requisite codes for security systems, diagnostic systems and telematics systems to independent aftermarket dealers. Where the required codes are not available, the independent aftermarket dealers are precluded from repairing those vehicles, leaving the consumer with the franchise dealers as their only alternative.
“Both the lack of access to information and the stringent framework surrounding warranty, maintenance and service plans, minimises, if not destroys, the consumers’ right to choose and places OEMs and their franchise dealers with the exclusive control of that segment of the market. We at MIWA believe this imbalance needs to be addressed in South Africa as it has in other parts of the world, and we will be championing the cause,” McMaster concluded.