The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has warned that so-called ‘data sharing’ legislation for the mandatory sharing of motor vehicle service and repair information introduced to federal parliament may create an administrative burden on independent repairers and car companies.
The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme Bill) 2021 was introduced to parliament yesterday and can be read on parliament’s website.
Describing the legislation in its current form as “inefficient, cumbersome, expensive, and onerous for all parties”, FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the new regulations will require car repairers to demonstrate that they are eligible to access the information to each car company individually, while every car company in Australia will become “a separate de facto ‘regulator’ ”.
“Instead of supporting the service and repair industry to provide outstanding service to their customers, the legislation creates onerous administrative compliance checks at an annual estimated compliance cost of around $30 million,” said Weber.
“This is a red tape nightmare for everyone concerned. Repairers will have to make up to 60 separate annual applications to the car companies and other data providers. A simple change to the legislation could have made the process one application to prove eligibility to access information for all Australian car brands.
“I cannot see why car repairers would see it as a good use of their time and resources to prove to each car company separately that they are eligible to receive information. A much better cost-effective solution is to establish a single step to assess eligibility.”
In addition, the FCAI said the data sharing legislation as drafted places the responsibility on each car company to check a range of information, including proof that the repairer is seeking to carry on a service and repair business. In some cases, this process might include police checks.
“If these checks are not performed to a standard that is not fully defined yet, the car companies can face significant fines under the Competition and Consumer Act. Instead of focusing on the customer, this legislation will tie up the car companies and repairers in expensive and time-consuming compliance checks,” added Weber.
Despite the FCAI’s criticism of the bill, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) and the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) have welcomed its introduction.