Govt tells auto firms to liberalise repair services for consumersí benefit

by IANS |

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) The Centre’s Department of Consumer Affairs has asked automobile manufacturers to enhance efforts towards democratisation of repair manuals and videos accessible to all, fostering a robust ecosystem for third-party repair services and upholding consumer rights.


The issue was taken up by Secretary, Department Consumer Affairs, Nidhi Khare at a meeting with Automobile Associations and their partner companies in the Automobile Sector with the objective of onboarding auto companies onto the Right to Repair Portal India, according to an official statement issued on Saturday.


The meeting was attended by various representatives of Automobile Associations like ACMA, SIAM, ATMA, EPIC Foundation and companies including Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, TVS, Royal Enfield, Renault and Bosch, Yamaha Motors India, Honda Car India were also present.


The Government has launched the Right to Repair Portal India (https://righttorepairindia.gov.in/) to provide consumers with easy access to information for repairing their products and enabling them to reuse it, thereby contributing to the circular economy as well as reduction of e-waste in a hassle-free manner.


In the meeting, it was emphasised that products that cannot be repaired or are subject to planned obsolescence—designed with an artificially limited lifespan—contribute to e-waste and compel consumers to purchase new products due to lack of repair options or extremely expensive repair options for reuse. Therefore, the goal is to eliminate obstacles such as restricted access to tools or repair information, ensuring that consumers have complete ownership of the products they purchase.


“Over time, it has been noted that repair services are increasingly constrained due to significant delays in service and absence of repair documentation for vehicles. Additionally, products are sometimes repaired at excessively high costs, leaving consumers dissatisfied with repair services which often delays repairs, even if necessary, due to limited repair options,” it was pointed out at the meeting.


A major constraint is also the availability of genuine spare parts at affordable prices. Often their unavailability at affordable prices forces consumers towards purchasing counterfeit spare parts from the grey markets. Further, lack of accessible information for minor repairs or do it yourself guides, exacerbates consumer distress, adding to their financial burden and overall dissatisfaction.


Stress was also laid on offering roadside assistance to consumers, especially on highways and introducing a repairability index of the vehicle that provides information on the life of the product, easy repair ecosystem, availability of spare parts, detailed manual on self-repair, warranty on different parts.


These measures aim to empower consumers with informed choices regarding the post-sales service of their products, besides ease in enjoying their products fully. The meeting concluded with the consensus to onboard the Right to Repair Portal and adopt a greater collaborative approach in providing a vibrant post-sale services to the consumers.


The discussions also covered topics such as aligning standardisation of parts along with standardisation of skilled workmanship, companies developing catalogues that should benefit consumers for post-purchase service and longevity of product life, and measures for addressing deceptive practices in repair workshops in the name of motor insurance that contribute to unnecessary generation of plastic waste.


It was stressed that details of Companies Service Centre across India and Recognition third-parties repairers, if any, by the companies and Information on country of origin to be explicitly mentioned.


Some companies like TVS have shared their post-onboarding experiences on the portal. Companies including Tata Motors and TVS discussed how, based on complaints received from the National Consumer Helpline, they identified key repair issues and subsequently created repair videos accessible to consumers via their official YouTube channels.

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