The ACCC has released its final report into the new car retailing industry after 18 months of extensive research and consultation with industry and consumer groups. Segmented into three key areas, the report aims to increase transparency between car dealerships, manufacturers, and consumers, the ACCC Cracks Down on New Car Dealers.
The recommended reforms suggested by the ACCC targets three key areas:
- Car manufacturers need to update their complaint handling systems and improve their approach to the handling of consumer guarantee claims
- A mandatory scheme should be introduced for car manufacturers to share technical information with independent repairers
- New car buyers need more accurate information about their cars’ fuel consumption and emissions.
For consumers, increased access to technical information from dealers and manufacturers will dramatically increase transparency and help to demystify the car repair and service process. Sims also suggests that the new arrangement should level out the playing field for smaller, independent mechanics.
“The ACCC recommends introducing a mandatory scheme requiring car manufacturers to share the technical information needed to repair and service new cars with independent repairers,”
Under the new reforms, any mandatory scheme relating to environmental, safety and security-related information must be available to independent repairers on ‘fair and reasonable terms’.
For independent repairers the reforms mean that, for the first time, they will be granted access to the same vehicle information that has previously been reserved for dealers and manufacturers.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims asserts that the new reforms are a positive step forward for consumers.
“The ACCC recommends several reforms to improve the new car retailing industry, which should lead to better outcomes for consumers. Some will require industry led change and others, we consider, require regulation.”
A timeline for enforcing the new reforms is yet to be confirmed, however Sims is confident that the changes will benefit the consumer.
“The ACCC will now work to implement the study’s actions and recommendations, including taking enforcement action where we see potential breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.”
The ACCC report can be accessed HERE