Car News

FCAI slams ACCC report into sharing new car servicing information

The ACCC has slammed new car retailers and manufacturers over their stranglehold on new car servicing information.

THERE HAS BEEN a long-running debate over whether you should use a new car servicing centre or have your vehicle serviced be an independent agent. In a lot of cases, there will be caveats in your warranty that lock you into a dealership service centre to realise additional elements. But, going outside this network doesn’t mean your warranty is voided.

However, the ‘aftermarket’ industry as the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) refers to it has long claimed it doesn’t have access to the most current information and codes to properly service new cars and that this restricts its ability to trade and compete.

Here’s what the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said:

Comprehensive Car Insurance

“Access to technical information held by car manufacturers is becoming increasingly important as repairing and servicing new cars relies on access to electronic information and data produced by car manufacturers.

“Car manufacturers have previously committed to providing independent repairers with the
same access to technical information as the manufacturers’ authorised dealers, on commercially fair and reasonable terms. However, we’ve discovered problems with the detail and timeliness of the technical information given. These problems can impact on competition in the repair and service market, which ultimately hurts consumers,” the ACCC said.

“We’ve found that car manufacturers and dealers sometimes restrict access to certain parts for legitimate reasons that may bene t consumers. This includes parts that can compromise vehicle security and encourage theft.

“However, a further motive for restricting access may be to steer more repair and service work back to authorised dealers and preferred repairer networks. This can reduce competition for repair or servicing work and raise prices.”

Currently there’s a voluntary code in place that sees (or sometimes doesn’t see) car makers share the latest servicing data with the ‘aftermarket’. The ACCC is calling for it to be mandatory to share this information.

Read our article on dealer vs non-dealer car servicing.

The FCAI has hit back claiming this mandatory sharing of information is unnecessary and that independent repairers shouldn’t be able to claim they can repair all makes and models.

FCAI’s Chief Executive Tony Weber, said: “The reality is that as modern motor vehicles become more sophisticated, the independent repair sector needs to continue to adapt and change to ensure it remains relevant and up to date. Independent repairers shouldn’t be able to say they can repair all makes and models when clearly they can’t. Unfortunately, today’s report just smacks of the ACCC looking to support old and failing business models for independent repairers.

“Car companies take safety, environmental and security information very seriously. Altering the safety and environmental profile of a vehicle by tampering with the car’s on-board diagnostics risks the car being non-compliant with Australian road rules. Additionally, having security information in the public domain puts a vehicle at much greater risk of being stolen,” Mr Weber said.

Question: Do you think the ACCC is being reasonable or is it over-reaching? Is the FCAI simply being protectionist?

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.