Car’s warranty can’t be linked to dealer servicing
June 07 2015 12:01 AM

Automobile dealers in Qatar have to give their customers the option to choose the centre where they would want to service their vehicles

Manufacturer’s warranty will be valid for vehicles which are not serviced or repaired at the distributor’s workshop, the  Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) said in a statement yesterday.
Automobile dealers in Qatar have to give their customers the option to choose the centre where they would want to service their vehicles, the MEC said.
The distributors have also been told to review the terms and conditions of the warranty by rewording the ambiguous phrases that limit warranty to servicing at a certain place.
The MEC asked all vehicle dealers in the country to modify their terms and conditions to avoid any phrase or word that limit or can be interpreted as restricting the right of the owner to maintain his car at the place of his choice. In particular, they have been told to remove any term linking warranty to using  the dealers’ workshops for regular maintenance.
Besides, dealers should ensure that both the Arabic and English texts of the warranty document convey the same meaning.
“Distributors can deny warranty only if it is proved that the vehicle has been damaged due to the repair or maintenance work undertaken outside or when such work did not comply with the set technical requirements. Under all circumstances, this could not be used as a justification to nullify the whole warranty of the vehicle.” The ministry said the clarification has been issued following  several complaints it has received in this regard from the public.
The official circular, also sent to all car dealers in the country, stresses that warranty cannot be considered as null and void in case of the customer using  modified spare parts that agree with the manufacturer’s  technical
standards.
For the vehicles already sold, dealers have been advised to provide the owners with revised  warranty documents that comply with MEC regulations.  “If the dealer has integrated the maintenance cost with the retail price of a vehicle,   the customer has the right to buy the car minus the maintenance cost and have the servicing and repairs done at a centre of his choice.”
The ministry said a comprehensive survey conducted by it had found that warranty booklets and documents contained terms that forced buyers to service their vehicles at the distributor’s  centres. “Such practice is either done explicitly or implicitly by using ambiguous phrases that could be interpreted as it is necessary to maintain the car at the dealers’ facility to avail the warranty,” it said.
“A review of the survey’s result by the  Competition Protection and Anti-Monopoly Committee at the MEC has determined that this is clear violation of Clause 6 of Article 4 of Law No 19 for
2006.”
The article outlaws “making the conclusion of a sale or purchase contract or agreement for a product conditional on the acceptance of obligations or products unrelated - by their nature or by commercial custom - to the original transaction or agreement”.
The MEC has already held a series of meetings in this regard with car dealers and they have been briefed on the measures that have been taken in the future to conform with the best international practices in this regard.
However, the  MEC has given car dealers a grace period to acquiesce .

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