Consumer watchdog puts brakes on Kia’s spiralling low-cost service plan, other carmakers now in its sights
AUSTRALIA’S consumer watchdog has savaged Korean carmaker Kia after it quietly bumped up the cost of its cut price servicing multiple times – and now other brands are in its sights.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which also manages vehicle safety recalls, said today it had forced Kia to amend the terms and conditions of its capped price servicing program – where owners expect to pay a capped price – after driving up the cost on four separate occasions over three years.
In a very public slap on the wrist, the ACCC said the way that the Korean brand’s capped price servicing program was explained to owners was likely to convince them that the cost of having their vehicle serviced was capped at the price they were told it would be.
“Kia represented on its website that ‘the capped price applicable for each service is the maximum you will pay for your scheduled service’,” a statement from the ACCC announcing the carmaker’s oversight said.
“However, prior to the ACCC’s intervention, Kia’s terms and conditions allowed scheduled service prices to be amended at any time and, in fact, these prices had been changed by Kia four times since 2012.”
In return, Kia must now amend the terms and conditions of its capped price servicing program to ensure service prices are genuinely capped.
It will also write to owners saying what price they should be paying for each service, and offer to refund any charges it made above the capped service prices that applied to a vehicle when it was bought.
The ACCC’s investigation won’t stop with Kia, though, with the watchdog saying it would “review other capped price service offers made to consumers by vehicle manufacturers to assess whether any similar issues arise”.