There are a number of contemporary issues relating to the fitting of aftermarket windscreens and parts (holistically) and members have raised concerns with our Industry Engagement Specialist, Paul Back. Paul and our WR team have investigated your obligations and advises items to take into consideration to protect your business.
The first consideration is about your statutory obligations. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) requires any products provided are of acceptable quality and any services are provided with acceptable care and skill and are fit for purpose, as set out below:
1.Acceptable quality means safe, lasting, with no faults, looks acceptable, and does all the things someone would normally expect from the product, taking into account the type of product and cost.
2.Fit for purpose includes meeting the customer’s specified or reasonable expectations to provide the replacement as requested and the replacement is a ‘correct or suitable’ replacement.
3.Acceptable care and skill can include relevant technical knowledge and taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage, not limited to:
a.Meeting the requirements of making sure the fitted windscreen meets the standards expected and not adversely affect any warranty that the customer had before presenting the vehicle to you for repair (unless the customer has had the opportunity to make an informed decision about any ‘loss of benefits’ they might otherwise be entitled to);
b.If you are aware of certain risks, you should adequately inform the customer of those risks before doing any work on their vehicle.
The second consideration is about obvious risks in your situation that may include (but not limited to):
1.How the vehicle may be affected by replacing windscreens with a non-genuine windscreen, if it’s not designed and manufactured to the manufacturer’s specifications. This can be a ‘can of worms’ because any replica of an original OEM specification may be a breach of copyright or patent laws, so more than likely, an aftermarket windscreen must be different from the manufacturer specifications to not be in breach of intellectual property rights.
2.The vehicle may require calibration of any safety and comfort features when a replacement windscreen is fitted, including:
a.Collision avoidance systems and integrated ADAS technology;
b.Automatic windscreen wipers;
c.Fault codes stored by the vehicle’s on board management systems.
3.Whether or not the supplier of the replacement windscreen is providing ‘express guarantees’ which mitigate the risks indicated above and whether or not they accept liability and indemnify you in the first instance in the event of a claim for any sort of failure of your statutory obligations.
The third consideration is about the steps you need to take to protect your own business and the products and services you provide. These are:
- Find out if the manufacturer of the replacement parts indemnifies you against any loss or damages suffered by the consumer (section 274 of Australian Consumer Law) in the event that you fit one of their windscreens.
- Find out if the manufacturer guarantees the replacement parts to meet manufacturer specifications.
- Find out if an authorised dealer will calibrate the replacement parts in the event you can’t do it yourself.
- Check your insurance to make sure it is adequate to cover you against any of these risks.
- Make sure you provide the customer with terms and conditions upfront, before you do any work on their vehicle and these terms include the mandatory text about loss of user generated data (see attached sample) so they can make an informed decision before they agree to purchase.
- Any other considerations not mentioned here that are relevant to protecting your business.
- We also recommend utilising the MTA’s new Repair Authority Document.
Your Industry Engagement Specialist, Paul Back, is here to help you learn about what the risks are in relation to this matter and how you can protect your business.
Click here to contact Paul if you have any questions about this matter or the Repair Authority.