Repairs on self-import vehicles

September 10, 2018

CONSUMERS bring self-import vehicles into the country for many reasons. Considerations on price as well as preference for a certain vehicle models are often at the heart of the decisions to self-import.

However, consumers may not be aware that there are certain limitations to purchasing a self-import vehicle.

One of these limitations is that once a vehicle is exported, the manufacturer’s warranty becomes null and void.

And while there may be dealers in the destination country, who are able to service a certain brand of vehicles, consumers must be aware that these dealers only have the expertise to service certain models associated with that brand.

This was the case for Farisha who imported a Ford vehicle from Australia to use in Fiji. Farisha was understandably excited to have a vehicle of her own making all necessary arrangements and paying all fees.Unfortunately, after a short time using the vehicle in Fiji, it started to develop problems.

Farisha took the vehicle to a local car dealer who dealt in Ford Vehicles, hoping they would be able to diagnose the issue.The dealer initially took in the vehicle and after multiple attempts to diagnose the problem, Farisha was informed that there were problems with certain car parts.

She was further told by the car dealer that the parts had to be sourced from Australia, where the vehicle was initially imported from.However, after purchasing the parts, the dealer kept the vehicle in their garage for six months and ran multiple diagnostics on the vehicle.

Their multiple attempts to repair the car, even with the new parts were unsuccessful.Farisha was frustrated and sought the Council’s assistance for the time taken to repair the vehicle and the extra money she had spent to purchase the spare parts.

The Council contacted the dealer and were later informed of the limitations that dealers have when attempting to repair car models that they have not received training on.Farisha was obviously not well informed of these limitations.It was further noted that all brand-new motor vehicle dealers in Fiji retailed different models and brands. There were most that specialized in one specific brand whereas others engaged in variety of brands.

The manufacturers of the brands supply only specific models based on Fiji’s geographical location, weather conditions, human capacity, technological capacity, skills and experience of workers, engineers and specialists in Fiji etc.For models that are self-imported by consumers and not retailed in Fiji, the local brand dealers refrain from servicing these vehicles, as they do not have the expertise, knowledge and equipment to do so.

Local Dealers also highlighted that once vehicles are retail purchased and self-exported from the country of purchase, the manufacturer’s warranty is automatically null and void.The Fiji Motor Traders Association stated that brand dealers in Fiji are cautioned not to service vehicle models of brands that are beyond their capacity of service.

This is because they do not have the skills nor the knowledge to operate on these vehicles.Local car brand dealers were not liable to diagnose, service and repair vehicles that are self-imported into the country.

They are bound by the agreement made with the brand manufacturer of vehicles they retail in Fiji.Consumers must exercise their responsibility and ensure that they get all details when choosing to self-import vehicles.

The Consumer Council also calls on dealers of motor vehicles to be implicitly clear if they are not qualified to service certain vehicle models. This will ensure that consumers are not left frustrated when they need to repair their vehicles