“There are a host of methods and places where one can buy a car these days, be it new or used. But buying from a franchised dealership remains one of the best ways of getting peace of mind, which is particularly important for first-time buyers,” explains Mark Dommisse, the Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Council (NADA).
Dommisse also notes that franchised dealers are subject to meaningful oversight from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Importer, or Distributor of a brand to ensure they meet and maintain a robust series of standards in terms of business practices.
“Dealing with a recognised dealership means that the customer will also have a one-on-one relationship with a representative of the dealership, to whom you can always refer. Importantly, if the car has a problem, you have direct recourse to an established, reputable business,” he adds.
When it comes to a used vehicle, dealers will usually offer either the balance of the factory warranty (depending on the age of the vehicle) or an optional, added-cost warranty to a customer, which will provide a measure of protection for an agreed period. Some may also offer service or maintenance plans/ extensions. The Consumer Protection Act affords a six-month window of an implied warranty of quality, from the purchase date, that the vehicle will perform as generally intended. This will not apply in the case of an auction, where ‘voetstoots’ still exists or where the dealer specifically excludes a part or component from the implied warranty.
“We are often asked if one should keep servicing a vehicle at the franchised dealership after the service or maintenance plan has expired. The answer is a definite ‘yes.’
“Think of a house. If you do not do constant small maintenance at regular intervals, large issues tend to develop that could have serious safety and financial consequences. The exact same thing is true for vehicles, more so in that, they have hundreds of moving parts exposed to road conditions that are often less than ideal, which all influence the serviceable items which in turn affect the big-ticket component,” commented Dommisse.
According to Dommisse, another question customers often ask is if you’re selling your car, and it has some scuffs, chips, and dents, should you fix it before selling?
NADA’s advice is that a car in good condition will always attract more interest and there will be less haggling over the cost of restoration. However, the consumer should weigh up the cost of fixing all the wear and tear items as opposed to the premium that will be paid on sale or trade-in. Other factors to keep in mind would be the demand for the vehicle, its book value, and its age.
We are aware of a one-of-a-kind seven-day or 700 km ‘cooling off period on offer,” says Dommisse. “As previously stated, if a car is purchased in a classic way in person from a dealer, there are no legal cooling-off periods afforded to the client. Therefore, this contractual option offered is a way to instill confidence in the product. It will not, however, negate or replace the rights afforded in the Consumer Protection Act in terms of the implied warranty of quality previously mentioned,” concluded the NADA Chairperson.
NADA is a constituent association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).