The PCA adopts a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by Fiat regarding motor vehicle warranties

Press Release 6/2016
The PCA adopts a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by Fiat regarding motor vehicle warranties
 
The Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) adopted a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by FCA Portugal, S.A., in relation to Fiat brands (Fiat), in order to address the competition concerns related to motor vehicle warranties’ restrictions.
 
The PCA’s investigation, started on 29 January 2015, revealed the existence, on Fiat´s extended warranty contract, of a clause which prevented consumers from having repair and maintenance work carried out by independent repairers, if not to lose the right to the manufacturer’s warranty.
 
To address the PCA’s competition concerns, Fiat altered its contracts and other relevant documents which included the restriction and offered a set of commitments in order to put an end to the investigated behaviours.
 
Following the public consultation, which allowed for any third parties to present their comments and once the analysis was finished, the PCA concluded that the commitments presented by Fiat were adequate to eliminate the potential harmful effects on competition and on consumer welfare.
 
The commitments Fiat is obliged to adopt, under the PCA’s monitoring, are the following:
• The obligation not to insert or to promote the insertion in Fiat’s website, contracts, extended warranty contracts, booklets and/or in any official documents, of any clause preventing consumers from having repair and maintenance work carried out by independent repairers, if not to lose the right to the manufacturer’s warranty;
• The introduction (in Fiat’s website, contracts, extended warranty contracts, booklets and/or any official documents regarding warranties) of a notice stating that warranties are not conditional on the end user having repair and maintenance work (outside of the  extended warranty’s scope) carried out only within the Fiat official repair networks;
• The communication to its official dealers and repair networks of the inapplicability of any restrictions on the possibility of clients choosing independent repairers without losing the extended warranty rights; and
• The communication to all the Fiat’s clients who subscribed the extension warranty contract of the inapplicability of any restrictions on the possibility of clients choosing independent repairers without losing the extended warranty rights (Fiat will sent all the clients at stake a copy of the new revised contract).
 
Under the Portuguese Competition Act, the PCA may accept commitments offered by undertakings which are considered to be adequate to eliminate the effects on competition of the investigated behaviours.
 
In this context, the PCA adopted a Commitment’s decision on 18 february 2016.