Intervention of the Portuguese Competition Authority led to positive changes in the motor vehicles warranties

Press Release 2/2016
Intervention of the Portuguese Competition Authority led to positive changes in the motor vehicles warranties
 
The Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) decided to close the infringement procedure against SEAT Portugal, Unipessoal, Lda. (SEAT Portugal) because the company, diligently, eliminated all competition concerns initially identified by the PCA regarding SEAT Portugal’s extended warranty contract.
 
Being aware of several infringement procedures in the automobile sector, SEAT Portugal autonomously decided to modify its extended warranty contract in order to clarify that this warranty is not conditional on the end user having repair and maintenance work carried out only within SEAT’s official repair network.
 
SEAT Portugal also informed its official network as well as all the clients who had subscribed the extended warranty contract of the changes made to it.
 
Since the contracts at stake are extended warranty contracts, applicable only after a 2 year period corresponding to the legal warranty period, the changed clauses were, in fact, never implemented by SEAT, as the corresponding contracts would only be applicable from 2015 onwards.
 
The PCA considers that these circumstances, along with the diligent behaviour of SEAT Portugal, making sure that its conduct fully complies with competition rules, allowed to overcome all competition concerns that were initially identified by the PCA, particularly the risk of foreclosure of independent repairers from the market.
 
The other infringement procedures investigated by the PCA in the automobile sector, regarding extended warranty contracts, led to the offering of commitments by the companies, which were subject to public consultation and ultimately rendered legally binding by the Authority.