Is your Service Plan taking You for a Ride?

    Owning a car these days is becoming needlessly more expensive than it was in the past, one of the contributing factors to this is the service plan that some manufacturers sell buyers with the car.

    When purchasing a car from a dealership, you also buy a maintenance contract for the vehicle. The agreement states the specific centres where to service the car.

    Should this be the case? Should you be forced to operate a maintenance plan when you buy a car? And with a particular dealership for that matter. When did it become okay to rob customers of the power of choice?

    No choices Offered with Service Plan

    Many vehicle owners are under some maintenance contract with the manufacturer of their car or the dealer who sold it to them. Often these plans are not all they are made out to be when signing up.

    Service plan

    Buyers are required to use a particular manufacturer or dealer. No matter how inconvenient their service centres are. They also have to pay the cost of that particular brand of parts and the labour rate. Regardless of how high it may be.

    And that’s not the worst part, as the cover does not extend to all vehicle parts. Insurance covers items like brake pads etc. but if the clutch kit succumbs to wear and tear, you pay.

    You Pay more if You’re not Careful

    Motorists assume that the contract covers most parts of the service plan. Also, the contract adds a significant amount to the overall purchase price of the car. In some instances, payment of up to R100,000 more.

    All added extras to cater for a plan they didn’t want. Most South Africans are likely to finance the purchase of a car through a bank and not pay cash. Interest rates will further increase the amount.

    Another negative is that you may not rack up the necessary mileage to fully take advantage of the service plan.

    A Service plan Decision

    It’s easy to point an accusing finger at car dealers and manufacturers for selling their service plans on hapless customers. However, customers themselves are partly to blame for this flourishing practice.

    How many know that the Consumer Protection Act protects them from unscrupulous car dealers and gives them the power to opt out of the maintenance plan?

    You should be able to buy a car without a service plan if you have no interest in one. It’s understandable why many buyers buy into these restrictive maintenance programs as dealers tell them that whether or not they take the plan, the vehicle’s price will remain the same.

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