The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has slammed a Which? report that claims seven car manufacturers still insist that customers have their vehicles serviced through a franchised dealer.

Last December, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a report criticising many manufacturers for trying to tie customers into expensive franchised dealer servicing in order to retain their new car’s warranty.

Which? magazine claims that some manufacturers have still not updated their policy wording to allow customers to have their vehicle serviced elsewhere, as long as guidelines on quality are followed.

The SMMT, however, claims that all its members have updated policy wording as suggested by the OFT.  Mazda in particular, as one of the seven singled-out by Which?, is fuming.

Regardless of this current punch-up, this remains good news for customers.  In the SMMT’s own words: “servicing via reputable, non-franchised outlets is now available to buyers of all new cars, without affecting the validity of any of the industry‚Äôs free peace-of-mind warranties.”