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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Carmakers end service restriction
Cars for sale
Move follows a critical OFT report
Major carmakers have agreed to lift servicing restrictions, the UK's trading watchdog has announced.

Owners of new Citroen, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Peugeot or DaimlerChrysler cars bought under warranty will now be able to choose where they are serviced.

Last year the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said consumers were losing 500m a year through unfair warranty deals.

At the time of the study about half of all new cars were sold with warranties that included servicing restrictions.

Renault and MG Rover removed their servicing restrictions before the OFT's study was published, in December 2003.

The critical report asked carmakers to lift restrictions on where new cars may be serviced, while under warranty.

It found that servicing a car at a franchised dealer was typically 83 more expensive than at an independent garage.

Consumers should now benefit from increased choice
John Vickers, OFT

There was also confusion among consumers over the options available to them, with more than two-thirds of motorists assuming their warranty would be invalidated if they used an independent garage, even when it was not the case.

About half of all new cars sold have warranties with service restrictions and more than 2.5m new cars are sold in the UK every year.

"The car industry's response to the OFT's recommendations to remove servicing restrictions is good news," said OFT chairman John Vickers.

"Consumers should now benefit from increased choice and competition between franchised and independent garages."


SEE ALSO:
New car drivers lose 500m a year
17 Dec 03  |  Business
Probe into new car warranties
30 Jun 03  |  Business
Car warranty crackdown
23 Jun 03  |  Business
Car dealer costs 'nearly double'
27 May 03  |  Business
Warranties face 'radical shake-up'
20 May 03  |  Business
Competition inquiry into warranties
28 Feb 03  |  Business


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