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Pedders Statement 7th April 2010


On Tuesday 6th April, Channel Nine’s “A Current Affair” aired a program relating to operations within 3 Pedders Queensland franchised stores. Pedders Suspension is a company dedicated to customer service and although Pedders has faith in its network of stores and dealers these allegations are taken seriously and are being thoroughly investigated. In the interest of balanced journalism Pedders Suspension would like to provide the following information to the public.

– Pedders Suspension is a 100% Australian family owned and family run business that has been specialising in steering and suspension since 1950.

– Pedders Suspension operates through over 120 retail and trade outlets throughout Australia – over 100 of those are small-business franchises.

– The Pedders Suspension group employs over 1,000 Australians.

– Pedders $14, 28-point steering and suspension safety check has been an offer provided by Pedders for over 20 years – and despite the escalation in costs since that time has remained at $14 to provide motorists with an inexpensive opportunity to ensure their vehicle’s vital steering and suspension system is maintained to an appropriate level. Some of our opposition and many other companies in the automotive retail sector offer free inspections.

– Pedders $14, 28-point steering and suspension safety check is, as stated in all marketing of this service,
“obligation free”.

– The program made reference to Pedders Ezi-Pay provided to Pedders by Certegy Australia. Pedders Ezi-Pay is not a traditional finance scheme. It is a no-interest repayment scheme designed to provide customers with the ability to pay any repairs over time with a set deposit required. The vendor, being the Pedders store, pays Certegy a fee for this service – not the customer. In 2009, Pedders Ezi-Pay revenue constituted less than 5% of the group’s retail sales – hopefully illustrating that Pedders do not use the Pedders EZI-Pay system to “force” customers to undertake repairs from the $14, 28-point steering and suspension safety check that they couldnot normally afford.

– A vehicle’s steering and suspension system (being the complex system of components that connect the vehicle’s body to the wheels) is, in our opinion, the most safety critical system on a vehicle. From Industry experts to V8 Supercar Drivers/Teams and anyone who has had the unfortunate situation of a steering or suspension failure would agree. The RACQ “Industry Expert” in the program inferred that motorists should rely on their periodic vehicle service before getting work done. From decades of experience Pedders Suspension would STRONGLY recommend that motorists that believe they have a problem with their vehicle to not wait until regular service intervals – especially regarding steering and suspension which are the components that connect a car’s body to the wheels.

– Every vehicle on Australian roads is different and every customer situation that Pedders face within its stores is different hence the time required to comprehensively check a vehicle as part of the $14, 28-point steering and suspension process is different. Adding further complexity to this is that most customers who request a $14, 28-point steering and suspension check have either self diagnosed a problem or have noticed a deterioration in their vehicle’s performance. At Pedders we refer to and document this as the vehicle’s “prime item of concern” – providing our well trained technicians with an item that needs extra attention during the inspection process. This “prime item of concern” can result in relatively short inspections through to vehicles that need to be kept at stores for longer periods of time all based on the myriad of complexities as raised above.

– The use of an RACQ Representative as an “industry expert” to offer opinion on Pedders checks has the potential to be very misleading – RACQ are a business that operates RACQ Centres and are therefore are a retail competitor to Pedders.

– Pedders Suspension specialises in steering and suspension and provides extensive training and information to its front line to provide in our opinion the most knowledgeable sales and workshop staff in relation to steering and suspension in the industry. The Pedders policy on its 28-point inspection as published in store and throughout our marketing material is as follows “any component in our opinion that is likely to become unserviceable in 6 months or 10000kms of the inspections, based on our experience both of the vehicle type and model, km’s travelled and likely driving situation will be recommended for immediate replacement”. Automotive workshops throughout the world have different inspection philosophies, specialities, knowledge, experience and infrastructure.

– Pedders Suspension is a highly ethical, family focused company that has been providing motorists with a best practice ethos that we engrain into our people as “NO BULL” and we adamantly stand by our practice of providing customers with an accurate diagnosis of their vehicle’s steering and suspension condition in line with the above philosophy – we have not and will never compromise the safety of our customers. We will continue to provide an accurate and conservative diagnosis philosophy within our great Australian company.