The automotive repair and service industry has observed enormous evolution in recent times. This growth is expected to continue, eventually escalating the demand for automotive repair services to avoid any malfunction during the regular vehicle checkups. In addition, factors like an increase in vehicle production and fleet size have boosted the automotive repair market to greater heights.
Thanks to their clever tech and excellent build quality, the ownership of almost every vehicle has increased now compared to a few years ago. The extended ownership has been able to fuel the demand and growth of the automotive repair industry. Furthermore, flexibility and a sense of dependability on the maintenance services and cost competitiveness are expected to make automotive repair services highly sought-after.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected every industrial vertical of the market, resulting in depressed capital fundings, lower production figures, and limited supply. Lesser strides taken by the auto repair shops during this pandemic have had quite an impact on the repair and maintenance service providers. However, people had put off the maintenance of their vehicles at the start of the pandemic that has now resulted in more visits to the maintenance and repair shops. Therefore, it will play a driving force in increasing the demand for this industry.
Right to Repair Act for the Automotive Industry
We want to tell you why you should know about the ‘Right to Repair’. Local shops try their best to repair your car using digital data. For this, it will be necessary for them to have tax data, which can only be given by the manufacturer there.
In the current situation, the “right to repair” is the much-needed legal protection that is being given to the people in the UAE as their right. It exists as a law to allow consumers to repair and modify their personal and commercial vehicles. UAE administration passed the right to repair laws for the automotive industry, making it necessary for the manufacturers to avail the customers with the required documents and details, allowing them to get their vehicles repaired at any mechanic shop around them. Vehicle manufacturers want you to get your vehicle serviced at the dealer’s point. Plus, you get the best and cost-effective repairs.
Manufacturers of motor vehicles sold under this act will be required to equip any vehicle that uses a telematics system. Platform with standardized open access data Such systems collect and wirelessly maintain mechanical data on remote servers with open access data. Owners of motor vehicles with advanced telematics will have total access to mechanical data about their vehicles with the help of a mobile application. Additionally, vehicle owners with proper authorization, independent repair facilities (that are not affiliated with a manufacturer), and independent dealerships will be able to obtain mechanical data from the vehicle and send commands for repair, maintenance, and diagnostic testing.
The onboard diagnostics were about to take off in the USA around the 80s. But it was pushed back so that a standardized port and cord could be devised that could be used by everyone. Now the automotive repair industry is facing the same issue. The new requirements put a more significant burden on shops and equipment manufacturers. But the repair industry needs to continue moving forward in order to compete on a level playing field.
There are some who suspect that there may be an attempt to steal the customer’s personal data through the right to repair act. First, you need to understand that the mechanical data of any vehicle is not personal with respect to the customer. It can only be used to repair or service the vehicle. There’s loads of technology ready, but it still needs to be standardized. Most people don’t even realize that their car is transmitting data. All they need to know is how to control it.
We also recognize that not every car or vehicle on the road should be connected to a single network. In case a hacker tries to break into the telematics network, he will only be able to sabotage it. On the other hand, hacking an integrated system would mean that they can sabotage cars of every make and model.
As far as the data is concerned, we all provide data (sometimes personal) several times a day to various organizations, including Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. These companies often know more about you than you know about yourself. So if adding repair shops through this act could help you get your car fixed quickly, cheaply, and more efficiently, then it could be of extreme benefit to you.
Consumer Protection Law in UAE
You might have signed the papers about the terms of warranty with the dealer while purchasing the vehicle. Furthermore, those papers might have stated that the service and repair must be performed at the dealer or company’s service center. Therefore, the provisions under Federal Law No. 15 of Consumer Protection Law of UAE, 2020 and the provisions under the Federal Law No.5 of the Civil Transactions Law of the UAE, 1985, might be applicable in this scenario.
You must note that the new Consumer Protection Law of UAE was published in UAE’s official gazette on 15th November 2020, and the provisions under it were to come into effect from 15th May 2021. This law covers all of the services and goods within the United Arab Emirates (including the free zones). It also includes the related operations carried out by the trade agents, advertisers, and suppliers, including e-commerce transactions for a supplier registered in the UAE.
The Ministry of Economy of the UAE in 2016 stated that conditions corresponding to the requirement of having a vehicle serviced at the dealer’s service center had been abolished. The vehicles have been provided with a right to repair their vehicles at any of the service centers approved by the ESMA or the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology.
Moreover, the Committee for Consumer Protection had also approved the amendments relating to conditions of a vehicle’s warranty. It assures the consumers that the car dealers will not cancel the warranty if the car is serviced at another vehicle service center that is not affiliated with the dealer or the OEM. Respecting the Protection of Consumers (the repealed Consumer Law), the Federal Law No.24 of 2006 protects the interest of consumers in the UAE. So if your dealer refuses to provide you with repair or maintenance services as mentioned in the warranty, it violates your consumer rights. That is in accordance with Articles 33 and 34 of the Consumer Law of UAE. Article No.33 states: “The dealer should guarantee the quality of their services and goods, the accessibility of the specifications as mentioned or the conditions inflicted by the customer in a written contract. Furthermore, the vehicle dealer should also guarantee the hidden flaws that may bring down the value of the goods or service or even render the product unusable for the purposes for which the consumer bought it.”
Article No.34 states: “The dealer shall avail the consumer with the after-sale services, including spare parts, maintenance for durable goods, for a stipulated period of time or in accordance to the nature of the goods.”
Further, the dealer bears the responsibility if the product provided to a customer is defective or damaged in any which way. Therefore, they are also liable to resolve the matter. This condition is per Article No.282 under the Civil Transactions Law. Article 282 states: “The author of any fault, even if not selective, shall be obligated to repair the damage.”
Based on the provisions of law mentioned earlier, in case of a valid warranty and if your vehicle has been serviced at an ESMA-approved repair and maintenance center in the UAE, your dealer might have to accept the conditions of the warranty and fix your vehicle’s defects. However, suppose the dealer or OEM does not provide you with service for your vehicle within the warranty period. In that case, you hold the right to appeal to the Consumer Rights Department at the Ministry of Economy of the UAE and file a formal complaint against the dealer or the OEM.