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Carmakers accused of servicing 'rip-off'

A national survey by fast-fit operator Hi-Q has revealed that many motorists wrongly believe that the warranty on their car will be invalid if they do not take the car for servicing to the manufacturer’s franchised dealer.

Hi-Q questioned 400 motorists on their understanding of their warranty.

Only 30 per cent of people believed their warranty would be valid if they took their car to a garage other than the manufacturer’s dealer. Thirty-eight per cent believed that their warranty would be invalidated if they took the car to an alternative independent garage and 32 per cent didn’t know either way.

Over 2.5 million new cars were sold in the UK in 2004. Every car sold will come with a manufacturer’s warranty to cover early failure of parts. In nearly every case, the car will not be required to be serviced at a franchised dealer for the warranty to remain valid.

Hi-Q believes the confusion is leading to many motorists being 'ripped off'.

"We’re calling on motorists to check the small print of their warranty or to ask at the time of purchase about where the car can be serviced," says Nikki McCluney, Hi-Q’s marketing manager.

"We believe many motorists will be highly surprised to find that there is absolutely no need for them to take the vehicle to the manufacturer’s dealer and absolutely no need for them to pay nearly twice as much for the privilege."

The survey also asked motorists if they believed their car would be worth less money if they did not take it to the manufacturer’s dealer for servicing. A third of people said yes, it would be worth less money. Forty two per cent believed it wouldn’t be worth less money and 26 per cent didn’t know.

Hi-Q is now calling for manufacturer’s to be more open about their warranty.

Hi-Q has a network of over 500 stores throughout the UK.

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