AS the cost of living continues to rise, consumers are becoming more penny sensitive and more aware of their rights especially when it comes to service. But that doesn't always mean we receive the service we would like to receive.
"There has been a 30% increase in complaints at the AA over the past year with most of the complaints coming from a broad spectrum of fleet and private vehicle owners as well as insurance companies", says the AA's senior technical ombudsman, Gerrie Jonker.
Jonker conducts forensic technical investigations into consumer complaints relating to, among others, warranty claim disputes, service quality disputes and disputes arising from consumers who have been taken advantage of (eg fraudulent diagnosis/ poor workmanship) by the retail automotive trade in general and gives the following tips to consumers based on some of the complaints he has received:
- l Use a reputable quality assured repairer;
- l Consult your vehicle service manual regarding the service intervals as to which components need to be changed ie cam belt and automatic transmission fluid;
- Request a detailed quotation and invoice;
- Obtain a second opinion if you are doubtful regarding the repairs and cost;
- l Do a visual inspection around the vehicle with the service advisor present, to ensure that there are no scratches or damages on the vehicle before you hand your car over for repairs. Do not forget the interior and remove all valuable items;
- l Request the damage parts be given back to you in writing, at the time of authorisation;
- l Do not authorise work and then after some time raise concerns, rather if you have a problem after repairs, raise the issue immediately;
- l Adhere to the warranty/guarantee conditions given by the repairer;
- l Be careful of dubious small private individuals that offer to repair your vehicle;
- l Fleet owners should have their vehicles evaluated regularly by the AA or another reliable company; and
- l Request good quality parts and materials to be used.
"It is also important that consumers take the time to read through their insurance policy, including the fine print.