UAE law: Will car warranty get affected if serviced from centres not affiliated to dealer?
'I was told that I had violated the terms of the warranty'
Question: My car is covered under a five-year warranty. It is now three years old. The other day, I took it to the dealer as it had some problem in its air conditioning, which is covered under the warranty. I was told that I had "violated" the terms of the warranty as I had got the car serviced at a centre that is not affiliated to the dealer. Now, I would like to tell you that this centre is a well-known, licensed place. Legally speaking, am I not covered under the warranty?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, we assume that you have signed the terms of warranty with the dealer from whom you purchased the car wherein it is stated that the servicing of the car must be conducted in the service centre of the dealer. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection (the ‘New Consumer Protection Law of UAE’) and the provisions of Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 on the Civil Transactions Law of the UAE (the ‘Civil Transactions Law’) may be applicable.
It should be noted that the New Consumer Protection Law of UAE was published in UAE official gazette on November 15, 2020, and it may have come into effect from May 15, 2021. The new law covers all goods and services within the UAE, including in free zones, and all related operations carried out by suppliers, advertisers or trade agents, including electronic commerce transactions if the supplier is so registered in the UAE.
If your car’s service warranty specifically states that the warranty for air conditioning service of the car will be valid only if the car is serviced at the service centre of the dealer, then you may be bound to follow the terms signed between you and the dealer.
However, in the year 2016 the Ministry of Economy stated that conditions related to compulsory servicing of the vehicle in the dealer’s service centre is abolished and the owners of the vehicles may service their vehicles in any of the vehicle service centres approved by Emirates Authority for Standardizations and Metrology (the ‘ESMA’).
Further, the Committee for Consumer Protection too had approved amendments relating to car warranty conditions, with the car dealers not to cancel the warranty for servicing the cars in another vehicle service centre which is not affiliated to it. The Federal Law No. 24 of 2006 in respect of Protection of Consumers (the 'Repealed Consumer Law') protects and safeguards the interest of consumers in the UAE. Since, you are a consumer and if your dealer refuses to provide you services as mentioned in the warranty, it is violation of your consumer rights.
This is in accordance with Article 33 and Article 34 of the Consumer Law of UAE. Article 33 states: "The provider shall guarantee the quality of the goods or services, the availability of the specifications specified or the conditions imposed by the consumer in writing. He shall also guarantee the latent defects which may diminish the value of the goods or service or render the same unusable for the purposes for which it is produced according to its nature or the terms of the contract entered into by the provider and consumer."
Article 34 states: "The provider shall provide the after-sale services, including spare parts, maintenance for durable goods, for a period not less than five years, or according to the nature of the goods."
Further, it is the responsibility of the seller who provides a defective or damaged product is liable to make good the harm. This is in accordance with Article 282 of the Civil Transactions Law, which states: “The author of any tort, even if not discerning, shall be bound to repair the prejudice.”
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, if the warranty is valid and if you had serviced your car in the ESMA-regulated service centre in the UAE, then your dealer may have to accept the warranty and fix your car’s air conditioning. In the event the dealer does not service your car within the warranty period of the car, you may approach the Consumer Rights Department at the Ministry of Economy and file a complaint against the dealer.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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