A customer opening the door of a car in a showroom

Motor industry faces biggest shake-up in decades

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New consumer laws are expected to bring the motor industry its biggest shake-up in decades, experts are warning. But dealerships are under-prepared for the changes, says Automotive Management online.

Dealer shaking hands with a coupleThe new Consumer Rights Act will come into force on 1 October, in little less than a month. Although not aimed specifically at the motor industry, the Act will have the greatest impact on the motor trade, say experts.

One of the biggest changes will be the introduction of the 'early right to reject', which means that anyone buying goods (such as a car), that are found to be faulty within 30 days of delivery can demand a full refund. Previous rules said a vendor could merely replace or repair a faulty item or part.

If a customer discovers a defect after 30 days (but within six months), they're entitled to a repair or replacement – and dealers will have only one chance at repair or replacement. If they fail, the customer is, again, entitled to a full or partial refund.

Motor lawyer Mark Reeve said dealerships will have to look closely at their selling practices, paying closer attention to presale vehicle checks. "I have been working in motor trade law for 27 years, and I know the industry is simply not ready for this. The new Act means that, when it comes to problems with the product, the ball is firmly in the consumer's court."

He continued:The Consumer Rights Act is the most important piece of legislation in this area for 40 years, and will prove a huge shock to the franchised dealers.
I think it means that motor dealers will have to be much more focused on ensuring that vehicles are free of faults at delivery; greater emphasis on pre-delivery inspections, vehicle health checks, approved used car checks and service schedules."

Reeve, alongside motor sector learning and development agency RTS Group, is offering courses to help dealerships get to grips with the legislation.

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