Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), will be responsible for ensuring vehicle manufacturers comply with the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme when it comes into effect on 1 July 2022.
The ACCC says it will have a broad oversight and enforcement role while day-to-day operations will be the responsibility of a new industry-led body called Scheme Adviser. The adviser will be responsible for dispute resolution, sharing information online, and providing reports about the operation of the scheme.
The commission says it has established a dedicated team to ensure the industry has a clear understanding of the ACCC’s role and functions, and will closely monitor the implementation of and compliance with the scheme. Penalties will apply for failure to comply with the main obligations of the scheme, and the ACCC will have a number of enforcement tools available, ranging from infringement notices to commencing legal proceedings in the Federal Court. A guide to assist industry in understanding the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement approach will be released soon.
According to the commission, the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme legislation, which it says adopted recommendations from the ACCC’s new car retailing industry market study, will ensure consumers benefit from competitive aftermarkets and by having a choice of providers to repair and service cars.
“Under the scheme, independent Australian motor vehicle repairers will have fair access to the information needed to service and repair cars, such as software updates to connect a new spare part with a car, or information and codes for computerised systems from the car manufacturer,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims. “This enables motorists to shop around for the repairer that offers the best price, service and convenience, knowing they will all have access to the information needed to complete the servicing or repair.
“We believe the scheme provides a much fairer opportunity for independent Australian motor vehicle repairers to compete and will improve outcomes for consumers, and we welcome this important reform being passed by the parliament.”