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Why do we still fear that car dealers will void our car warranties if we don’t use their workshops?

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CEO Message:

There is still a common misconception and fear among motorists that your car warranty will be void if you choose not to use the dealer’s or agent’s authorised workshop and instead opt for an independent workshop. I’m keen to remind and reassure motorists that this just isn’t the case.

Since 31 December 2017, major car dealers have been unable to impose restrictions threatening to void a warranty if a vehicle is serviced or repaired at an independent workshop. Independent workshops refer to any workshop not authorised by the car dealer.

“With these changes in place, car dealers may void car warranties or reject claims ONLY if it can be established that the damage or defect to be claimed under the warranty is in fact caused by the independent workshops.”

Based on information obtained by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) for their Market Inquiry on Car Parts in Singapore (11 December 2017), even before these changes took effect car dealers rarely voided warranties or rejected claims due to servicing or repairs carried out by independent workshops.

Some car dealers, however, are vague when it comes to giving reassurances to motorists about the validity of their warranty if they use an independent workshop since they would need to see those repairs beforehand.

At the same time, independent workshops cannot guarantee that a warranty will not be void as this decision is made by the car dealer’s workshop.

This leaves motorists stuck between a rock and a hard place and in the end many choose what they perceive to be the easiest and safest option, which is the car dealer’s authorised workshop.

But should we be held to ransom over a fear of the unknown, especially when regulations are in place to help protect us?

Warranty restrictions were removed to create a more competitive market for car repairs/servicing and in turn to provide more choices and better value for motorists. Car dealer workshops can charge up to two to three times more than independent workshops.

And don’t forget the big savings to be made when it comes to car repairs and car insurance. When buying your car insurance, you are no longer restricted to take up the more expensive option of Any Workshop to enable you to go back to your own car dealer’s workshop. You can instead opt to have your accident reporting/repairs carried out at one of your insurer’s panel of authorised workshops. This less expensive option means you can choose which garage to go to so long as it is on your insurer’s list of authorised workshops.

I would add the caveat that if you do decide not to go back to your car dealer for repairs and servicing then do choose a garage that is reputable and trustworthy. The Motor Traders Association of Singapore also recommends you keep proper records of servicing done at independent workshops, such as invoices which show proof of purchase of genuine parts.

Finally, you could consider reaching out to CCS if you encounter such warranty restrictions or a rejection of claims due to such warranty restrictions, or need further clarification.

Simon Birch
CEO, Budget Direct Insurance

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