Q&A and Explanation of the Guidelines for Competition in the South African Automotive Aftermarket – FAQs from Workshops
Please note, that the following is only an explanation of the Guidelines and is not legal advice. If an OEM or the distribution network of an OEM does not follow the guidelines published by the Competitions Commission, we advise that this is reported to the competition commission in the form of a complaint. A complaint form can be found on the Commission website www.compcom.co.za.
The final decision on the implementation of the guidelines lies solely with the Competition Commission.
The first point to note is that the guidelines are exactly that, guidelines as to how the Commission will approach any matter in terms of the Competitions Act. The underlying legal basis is the Competition Act, and it is the principles of this Act that will form the basis of enforcing the guidelines.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that other existing laws, acts, and regulations remain relevant and do not change e.g., the Consumer Protection Act which specifically addresses consumer rights against parts failure and/or faulty workmanship.
The Guidelines are now in force and came into effect on 1 July 2021.
What follows is a collection of frequently asked questions that we get from workshops which we have consolidated for your ease of reference. Please make sure that you also read the general Q&A and explanation of the Guidelines page.
We are in the process of engaging with the various stakeholders in order to establish further clarity as to how the manufacturers intend on providing things like access to technical information and training. However in the meantime we recommend that you exercise your rights and approach the manufacturers directly and contact us for support should you experience any pushback.
This page has been compiled in partnership with MIWA.
Questions Relating to Access to Technical Information, Tools and Training
Do workshops have to pay a license fee to each manufacturer for the pass through system?
We do not have clarity on this aspect yet and will update this page once we receive more information.
If a vehicle has its service recorded on its key, how will workshops go about accessing the information on the key?
You should contact the manufacturer and ask them to provide you with access or the tools/software required to access this information. In terms of the Guidelines the manufacturer is required to give you access to this information, or the tools/software to be able to do so yourself.
Will workshops get access to coding on vehicles? Example SCN coding for Mercedes Benz?
In terms of the Guidelines the manufacturers are required to provide you with technical information on vehicles, including coding, on request. However, for security related issues OEM’s may accredit certain ISP dealers.
Will the dealerships make their special tools available for purchase?
The Guidelines makes provision for the OEM’s to make available special tools to workshops.
Will the OEM’s provide training?
Yes, the Guidelines make provision for training. Should you require training, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer in question and request the same.
What happens if you need dealer specific information that is not available in the aftermarket? Is the OEM dealer obliged to give us the information?
Will an aftermarket scanner be approved?
Yes, the Guidelines do not make mention that the scanner must be an OEM scanner. This will generally be used to reset the service interval and any scanner should suffice.
Questions Relating to Warranty Issues
What may I do if a customer brings their vehicle to my workshop after missing a service?
The workshop may go ahead and complete the service and the customer must pay for the service. We encourage you to advise that customer that as a result of missing a service the manufacturer may choose to void their vehicle’s warranty and that you won’t accept any liability in that regard. Make a note of this in the vehicles service book as well.
If a fault is detected on inspection during a routine service, and this is outside of the specified serviced schedule such that it requires urgent attention, what protocol should be followed? Do we report this to the manufacturer or customer?
We suggest that the customer is informed thereof immediately. Take photos of the issue and make detailed notes thereof. The issue must thereafter be referred to the manufacturer by the customer or by yourself at the request of the customer.
If an oil filter is found to be defective and causes consequential damage to the engine, who will be liable for the damage caused – Supplier or Workshop?
Provided that the parts were fitted correctly and the correct application was adhered to the supplier will be liable and not the workshop. If sub-standard parts or lubricants were used, then the responsibility shall rest with the workshop to compensate the customer.
Can a customer have his vehicle’s air conditioner serviced at an ISP as this does not fall under a scheduled service?
Should the AC require servicing as part of the scheduled service requirements, then a qualified AC Service workshop may perform the service. Should the air-conditioner have a warranty related fault, it should be referred back to the manufacturer.
Since we cannot repair a defect, what do we do if a part defect renders the vehicle not drivable?
You should bring the issue to the attention of the customer. The customer will then need to refer the matter to the manufacture or you can contact the manufacturer at the customers request, who will then make arrangements for the warranty repair to be done. Do not attempt to do any warranty repairs while a vehicle is still under warranty.
Does gearbox service, cambelt replacement etc. fall under the service work that we are permitted to carry out?
Will we be able to do service/maintenance insurance claims for the first year or only the dealers?
You may perform services if there is no service agreement in place. However no warranty repairs should be done as these need to be done by the OEM dealer. Once the vehicle warranty expires ISP’s may carry out repairs at the customer’s expense. If the repairs relate to an insurance claim the choice of the service provider will be subject to the insurances policy, which must confgorm with Section 7 of the Guidelines.
If there is no maintenance plan on the vehicle, can the workshop repair any other issue noted during the service? i.e water pump leaking, etc.
While the vehicle is under warranty you will not do any repairs to any component which carries a warranty. This can only be done once the warranty has expired. However things such as windscreen wipers which do no normally fall under the warranty may be replaced or repaired.
Will the parts be the same price as offered to the franchise dealerships?
Where it is required that “Original” parts need to be sourced, these will be subject to the supply chain of the OEM concerned.
Is there a list of approved parts manufacturers been identified for service related parts as mentioned earlier, i.e. Filters, Spark Plugs, Brakes, Belts, etc.?
There is no official list, however we recommend that only “Non-Original” Parts of traceable origin, manufactured by an Original Component Parts Manufacturer where a warranty is applicable should be fitted at any time. These parts should only be sourced from reputable TEPA component parts suppliers.
Do brake pads and discs fall under service and maintenance?
For vehicles that have been sold prior to the 1st of July 2021, will the Guidelines apply?
Yes, all vehicles sold prior to, or after 1st July 2021 that have not been sold with a service/maintenance plans can be serviced under warranty.
Is it correct to assume that the technician for the ISP should be a qualified mechanic?
Will the workshops be able to use OEM logos?
No, these are the OEM’s trademarks and cannot be displayed or marketed without express permission.
Will you be able to advertise that you can service all vehicles?
Yes you may advertise that you can service multiple brands of vehicles and that you specialize in specific brands if you wish to, however you may not state that you are endorsed by the specific manufacturer without express permission to do so.
How will we know if there is a bulletin outstanding specific to the scheduled service?
Bulletins are the responsibility of the OEM. HaynesPro or Autodata, receive all the service bulletins that are released in Europe. These are updated virtually on a daily basis.
Are OEM dealers permitted to work on other manufacturers vehicles?
The Guidelines work both ways, they benefit both ISPs and dealers. The OEM dealers can service any vehicle. In fact, some dealers have opened aftermarket workshops to accommodate this.
Do the Guidelines apply to motorcycles or only motor vehicles?
Yes. The Guidelines cover all motor vehicles designed or adapted for propulsion or haulage on a road by means of fuel, gas or electricity or any other means.