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LTI forced to clarify warranty

Black cab manufacturer LTI has been forced to clarify its position on approved parts following a complaint made to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that it was in breach of block exemption regulations.

Consequently, it has written to its 10 dealers and 66 authorized repairers to advise them that they are able to used non-LTI approved parts without invalidating warranty.

The move follows a complaint made by a black cab driver to the OFT, which prompted the organization to speak to the manufacturer’s dealer network.

It found that many believed that only LTI approved parts could be used when carrying out routine maintenance and repair work, otherwise the company would invalidate the vehicle’s warranty.

LTI has now confirmed that it does not restrict the use of original spare parts and spare parts of matching quality. It has also stated that it will only invalidate a warranty if non-LTI approved parts are seen to have been the cause of a problem.

“One of the main objectives of the competition laws in this sector is to ensure that a vehicle manufacturer’s dealers and independent garages are able to offer end users a choice of spare parts,” says Vincent Smith, OFT’s director of competition enforcement.

“Without this choice, competition in the spare parts market for black cabs – and in particular here, new vehicles under warranty – would be severely restricted.

“The OFT welcomes LTI’s response on clarifying its position on the use of spare parts when its vehicles are under warranty. This will help black cab owners make choices about which parts they want fitted on their vehicles in the future,” he adds.

LTI manufactures the majority of the black cabs within the UK, and around £10m of its approved spare parts are sold each year.

This comes just two months after the OFT received complaints that some TVR dealers were refusing to supply independent repairers with engine parts. In a similar case, the manufacturer was forced to remind its network of its legal obligation not to restrict the supply of OE parts to independents.

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