FiSH? - Full Service History

The advertisements are legion - every car to be sold seems to be attached to the acronym “FSH!”

For years I wondered why any car should be sold with a fish. It occurred to me that I might have been misguided by my dyslexia, but I no longer suffer this, thank Dog.

Full Service History is an important and valued selling asset. It is taken more often than not to signify a vehicle has been looked after, in accordance with the maker’s recommendations, using proper materials and good quality main dealers. It works like a comfort blanket and eliminates any questions about the soundness of the car.

But does Full Service History really say that?

The words themselves, if taken literally, should signify no more than a full history of the car having been serviced. It says nothing about it being serviced on time, nor by main dealerships or with makers parts only being installed. A full service history might be a series of torn off cigarette packet flaps with a date and mileage written on. If each was in sequence and up to date, would that pass as a full history?

Where in “FSH” does it imply that only a main dealer has worked on the car? Why is it industry standard to accept without demur, the concept that FSH means fully detailed main dealer service only at the correct, maker-stipulated intervals?

It begs the question, “What is my answer to the customer who complains that the tenth service on his Bentley Continental GT, having been carried out in a fly blown, leaking Yurt on the borders of Outer Mongolia, using reconstituted camel droppings as lubricant, does not represent a full service history?”

The answer might be “It is a full history, but perhaps not one you might willingly accept”, even though in strict terms, it could just hold up under the Sale of Goods Act.

The lesson is clear. Always check the documents carefully both before you buy and before you sell.

As far as “FiSH” is concerned, perhaps Fins aren’t what they used to be!

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Published: 06 Jan 2015

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