Must servicing be done by a franchised dealer?

Reader asks if his car's warranty would become void if he has the car serviced outside the main dealer network...

Car being serviced

Does the manufacturer’s warranty become null and void if a private car owner uses a non-franchised specialist to service the car, even if the agent uses only official manufacturer’s parts?

I was recently told by someone at a franchised dealership that their headquarters had told them warranty claims could only be honoured if a franchised dealer had serviced the car every time. 

However, I remember something about Block Exemption, which allowed non-franchised garages to do the work and not affect the warranties of cars. The specialist I took my car to used official manufacturer parts and assured me the warranty wouldn’t be affected.

Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Chris Simmons

What Car? says…

With regard to the manufacturer’s warranty that comes with a car when it’s new, Block Exemption allows you to have a car that’s under warranty serviced by an independent garage, provided it adheres to the car maker’s servicing schedule and uses genuine parts. 

The regulation was introduced by the European Union in 2003 to promote competition and stop car makers from barring independent garages from servicing new cars.

However, it doesn’t apply to the extended warranties offered by many car makers, so it can be stipulated in the terms and conditions for these that the car must be serviced by a franchised dealer. 

If your car has an extended warranty or you’re considering taking one out, you should check the terms and conditions. 

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