Choosing a garage
When it is time for your car to be serviced, you are free to choose which garage to take it to. If, however, your car is covered by a new-car warranty, or if the fault is covered by any other warranty, you will need to choose the correct garage.
Checklist for when you book your car in for repairs
- Ask for a written copy of the working protocol produced by the garage's staff. This acts as the written agreement between you and the garage.
- Make sure that your opinions are included in the protocol. If the repairs apply to an insurance claim, the protocol should also state that you are referring to the warranty or to a customer complaint.
- Ask for written confirmation of the price of the work and whether this is a fixed price, approximate price or an ongoing cost.
- Ask to be contacted before they begin with the repairs if an inspection has to be carried out before the price is determined.
- Ask about which materials will be used and whether they will use original parts.
- Ask about the alternatives to repairs, and the risk of any subsequent faults.
- Ensure that there is a written note specifying when the car has been left at the garage as well as the estimated delivery date.
- Remove any valuable items from the car and ensure that the garage staff write down how the car is to be stored.Write down your contact details and make sure that both you and the staff member that books in the car sign the order.
When you book your car in for a service
- Find out which garages can accept your car for a service.
- Ask other garages for information about prices.
- At the garage, ask about which service shall be performed and whether they comply with the car manufacturer's directions and service programmes.
- Make sure your service book is stamped. If you have a digital service book, you should request a print-out detailing what is being entered into the system.
- Ask for a copy of the service protocol. This will provide you with documentation confirming that the service has been performed.
- If your car is covered by a new-car warranty, a list of parts, fluids and accessories, as well as software updates that were available at the time of the service, must be documented in the service protocol.
- Save all documentation as this is of value and may be needed for any warranty measures.
The market for servicing cars is deregulated. This means that you can go to whichever garage you choose. The garages are divided into approved garages and independent garages. An approved garage is a garage that specialises in your particular brand of car, whilst an independent garage is one that is independent of car manufacturer and accepts the majority of brands.
The Swedish Consumer Agency has joined together with Sweden's Motor Industry Association and the Swedish Association of Vehicle Workshops to produce favourable vehicle repair terms and conditions for consumers, which are broadly based on the Consumer Services Act. It is advisable to choose a garage that has undertaken to follow these repair terms and conditions.
Certain requirements if the warranty is to apply
The new-car warranty and the repair of faults that are covered by the warranty is entirely controlled by the organisation that issues the warranty; in this case, therefore, you are not free to choose which garage to use. In order for the warranty to apply, the garage must carry out the service in a professional manner, comply with the manufacturer's service protocol and repair instructions, and use original parts. An original part could be either a part that comes from the car manufacturer or a part produced by a brand-independent company. In order for a part to be called an original part, the part must be of either equivalent or better quality compared to a part produced by the car's manufacturer.
Requirements that a garage must comply with
As a consumer, you are protected by the Consumer Services Act when you book your car in for a service or repair at a garage. The garage is bound to comply with this law and compliance cannot be waived by any other agreement. This legal protection means that the garage must:
- perform the service in a professional manner – i.e., that work is performed to the same standard that would normally be expected of a serious professional and in accordance with the instructions produced for the car by the manufacturer
- ensure that the person performing the service possesses the appropriate skills and the necessary training to protect your interests and consult with you to avoid any misunderstanding
- provide the necessary materials for the work, if you have not agreed otherwise
- inform you if, during the performance of the work, it becomes clear that additional work is needed
- discourage you from having the service performed if it is not going to be of reasonable benefit to you. This also applies once the performance of the service has already begun. If this requirement is not complied with, the garage forfeits the right to receive payment.
- Proofread 10 April 2018