COVID-19 Coronavirus Message Updated: 8th July
Mail Order Customers:
  *
Our carrier DHL is operating near normally across the world. Allow an extra day for delivery (2 days for Australia, 6 days for New Zealand), just in case. However, regular international postal services can have additional delays, and are not recommended for anything required within 6 weeks.
  * For the UK only, Royal Mail are delivering the vast majority of orders on time according to our data, but is experiencing higher levels of staff absences, so there may some local delays.
  * We will be working normally and have a large warehouse full of parts that will help keep your car on the road. However, we are beginning to see supply delays from factory lockdowns around the world.
Workshop Customers:
  *
Following government guidance, we are open as usual. Taking your vehicle to a garage for repairs is a permitted activity (safety) as long as you observe the social distancing rules. We have strict social distancing processes internally and disinfect daily (not least because we have staff in vulnerable groups). In the circumstances, we have had to close our waiting room. Our mechanics wear gloves at all times and we will disinfect your vehicle with our Zaflora sprays on handing back to you. We would respectfully ask you to show our staff the same courtesy. We also have full amount contactless payment systems.
  * MOTs due for renewal from 30th March to 31st July will be extended for six months. However, you are still legally obliged to keep your vehicle in a safe and roadworthy condition, so if you need to use your car in this period, it is still strongly recommended to get one done.

Block Exemption Regulations and Independent Alfa Romeo Servicing

As an independent specialist we often get asked about the servicing and repairs of Alfa Romeos whilst they are still under the manufacturer's warranty.

The whole area is covered by the Block Exemption Regulations (BER) 2002, which gave motorists almost total freedom of choice in where they buy their new car and where they get it serviced; a fact that generally hasn't filtered through to the consumer. For servicing, the British consumer is spending £500 million per year more than they should by going to expensive official dealers when they can get just as good quality from independent garages (source: Office of Fair Trade).

The BER legislation was initially derived from the European Union (see, they're good for something!) and it was designed to promote competition in what had effectively become a monopolised market place. Now that it's been enshrined in UK law and policed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a genuinely competitive market is slowly emerging from what was one of the worst excesses of Rip-off Britain.

The BER specifically prohibits the manufacturer from insisting that servicing is only performed within the dealer network, nor that only original manufacturer's parts are used.

The only (sensible) conditions are that the servicing is done in accordance with the manufacturer's schedule and is recorded as such, and that 'appropriate quality' parts are used. We feel that the phrase 'appropriate quality' leaves the door open to a dispute between the manufacturer and the parts supplier, so to be absolutely sure, we at the Alfa Workshop only use manufacturer's parts.

Other details about BER include that part manufacturers must be able to supply Original Equipment parts under their own brand to independent specialists and wholesalers and not just to the vehicle manufacturer, and that anyone with a legitimate requirement for technical information has the right to it in a usable format and sensible cost.

To be fair on the manufacturers, their compliance with the new law is now good (not least because of the swingeing fines that can be levied against them if they aren't). But then again, they aren't exactly quick to tell their customers that they are now free to make a choice.

So, do your friends a favour and spread the word....

JP

Related Links: Tyres - All You Need to Know

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