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Consumer education: Understanding invoices

RMI is helping consumers understand their spend by explaining items on the service invoice.

Given the general consumer’s lack of knowledge around mechanical matters, it’s only natural that some feel the need to query their service invoices. MIWA’s Dewald Ranft points out that this is especially the case now that the pandemic has placed pressure on our pockets – which is why it’s important for MIWA to help consumers understand the elements included in an invoice, and ensure they see the value they are gaining from handing their vehicle over to a MIWA workshop.

Ranft says that it’s worth bringing to the consumer’s attention the difference between a general consumables charge and other charges, which may be listed individually. ‘General consumables’ is an umbrella term encompassing items that are needed to complete any repair job and which are typically bought in bulk, such as rags, grease, cable ties, and silicone sprays. These items are grouped together because there are so many of them that to list them individually would make for a very long invoice indeed.

In contrast, items that have been used for your specific service – such as filters, brake pads, wiper blades, and oil – will be listed individually so that consumers understand exactly what they are paying for. 

Added to this, consumers should find a line item specifying the cost of labour as well and repair work. They may have been alerted about these costs upfront, as they are usually predetermined.

Consumers watching their budgets should be aware that they are able to request a quote from their mechanic; however, they also need to know that this amount may change if the mechanic uncovers additional problems. That said, a good mechanic will always request approval for additional costs before undertaking the work. 

Ranft pointed out that this is one of the advantages of working with a MIWA accredited workshop, as consumers can be sure they have selected a qualified workshop which will provide all relevant information. More than this, they have recourse to MIWA should they have any queries or complaints.