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PREMIUM BRAND CAR DEALERS MISLEAD CONSUMERS
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Old 20 Feb 2005, 12:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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PREMIUM BRAND CAR DEALERS MISLEAD CONSUMERS

no mention of subaru though

PREMIUM BRAND CAR DEALERS MISLEAD CONSUMERS

Thousands of motorists are being misled when it comes to maintaining their cars’ warranties, a special undercover investigation by What Car? magazine reveals today.

BMW came out worst in What Car?’s survey. Seven of its 20 dealers quizzed claimed the warranty would be invalidated by getting a BMW serviced outside the main dealer network. Next worst was Citroen (6 out of 20) and Ford (5 out of 20). The best brand was Toyota, where only one dealer made the same mistake.

What Car? Investigation Results

We asked main dealers: “Can I get my new car serviced at a local independent dealer, or will that affect the warranty?”


Rank Brand It would invalidate warranty It’s risky and might invalidate warranty You can take your car anywhere
Worst BMW 7 4 9
Citroen 6 5 9
Ford 5 2 13
Volkswagen 4 6 10
Vauxhall 4 3 13
Peugeot 3 1 16
Honda 2 9 9
Nissan 2 4 14
Renault 2 6 12
Best Toyota 1 3 16



A shocking four in 10 dealers gave mystery shoppers false or confusing information about where customers could and couldn’t take their cars to be serviced. Nearly 20% of the dealers surveyed incorrectly said a car’s warranty would definitely be invalidated if serviced outside of the franchised network, while a further 21% said it would risk and probably invalidate their warranty cover.

What Car? editor David Motton said: “We were shocked that so many dealers are pulling the wool over motorists’ eyes. Car owners are free to shop around for servicing and should ask a number of main dealers and independent garages to quote for service work. Using a non-franchised dealer will not invalidate your warranty.”

In the past, owners of cars still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty had to take them to the main dealer for servicing – often paying over the odds for the privilege.

Now, however, as a result of a campaign by the Office of Fair Trading, car owners have the right to shop around for competitive servicing prices, and can take their cars to their local independent garage. Warranty cover will not be affected, so long as cars are serviced to manufacturer schedules and standards using manufacturer parts.

What Car?’s investigation found that not only do few members of the public realise this, but very few dealers are helping to clarify the situation.

Mystery shoppers contacted 200 dealers from the 10 top-selling manufacturers in the UK. Posing as car owners they asked whether the warranty would be invalidated if the car was serviced outside of the franchised network.

Of the dealers questioned, 36 said the warranty would definitely be invalidated and a further 43 said it would put warranty cover at risk. If a car loses its warranty, an owner is unable to claim for repairs if things go wrong in the first three years of ownership.

The full results of the investigation appear in the April issue of What Car? on sale now.

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