Specialized car service shops: Are they worth the risk?

Trucks line the entrance of a local body repair shop in Zarqa. (Photos: Mohammad Zaro/Jordan News)
Trucks line the entrance of a local body repair shop in Zarqa. (Photos: Mohammad Zaro/Jordan News)
Cars in Jordan are overpriced — that’s common knowledge — but what many people do not realize is that car maintenance costs in Jordan come at a higher-than-normal price because of extremely high import taxes imposed on spare parts and the value-added tax that is levied on labor costs. Jordanian drivers are always on alert as they try to navigate the tough paths they face throughout their car-ownership journey.اضافة اعلان

A local dealer service center in Jordan. (Photos: Mohammad Zaro/Jordan News)

After buying a car, most Jordanians opt for maintenance at authorized car dealer service centers in the early stages of car ownership, partly because the cost of such early car life maintenance is minimal with an active warranty.

For most people, this commitment to car dealer services continues throughout the warranty, but once the warranty period expires, some owners tend towards saving on dealer center labor costs. They turn to “specialized brand service shops”, which are often managed by engineers or technicians who worked at dealerships and acquired experience at dealer service centers in Jordan or abroad. These shops use inspection devices similar to those found at the official dealer service centers, but unlike dealership service centers, they rarely update their software.

These shops are not always committed to selling genuine spare parts, offering original, commercial, and used parts for their customers to choose from. At the shops, the “calculation” of labor costs varies depending on repairs and the customer’s negotiating abilities. Meanwhile, official dealer service centers adhere to international standards, following set criteria for services and pricing and offering new and original spare parts.

A local car showroom in Jordan. (Photos: Mohammad Zaro/Jordan News)

In Jordan, there is no governmental or non-governmental consumer rights protection body that organizes or monitors the work of these maintenance shops in terms of consumer rights and public safety. The Jordanian consumer who experiences injustice or mistreatment by these shops has nobody to complain to, while the customer of official dealer centers can easily complain to the management or even to the manufacturer, caring deeply about the reputation of their brand and products.

Multi-brand maintenance centers are set to debut in our market. They are mainly established by auto parts dealers, offering relatively good services and utilizing advanced inspection devices. They give customers a choice between original parts and commercial parts from authorized suppliers, and most importantly, their work is guaranteed. These multi-brand centers are relatively less expensive than official dealer service centers and are more reliable than “specialized” shops.

Reception lounge of a local dealership service center in Jordan. (Photos: Mohammad Zaro/Jordan News)

It is necessary to develop some form of consumer control over the car maintenance sector in Jordan, and to protect the consumer from manipulation or malpractice, because cars are not just personal possessions, they are means of transportation that affect public safety, the environment, and public health in a significant and long-lasting way.

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