In a perfect world, every job would proceed smoothly and without problems. In the real world, however, workshop owners are bound to come across challenges, including opportunistic customers who claim that long-standing damage to their vehicles was caused after it had been delivered by the workshop.
Your best defense against such claims is total compliance with service and repair check-ins – which is why adherence to the South Africa Automotive Code of Conduct is so important, according to Deon Rademeyer, RMI Consumer Affairs Specialist.
This Code of Conduct states that members undertake to provide goods and services that are safe and at prices that are fair and reasonable; honour both the letter and spirit of any warrantees that accompany the sale of goods and services, and publicly acknowledge the consumer’s rights to be heard, to be informed, to have the right to safety, the right to choose, and the right to redress with regard to the South African Automotive Industry.
With this in mind, it is imperative that workshop owners do their utmost to provide outstanding service, not only because this is the customer’s due, but because it protects them against fraudulent claims. Rademeyer points out that it remains the owner’s responsibility to safeguard the company against such claims, which is why it’s a good idea to pay special attention when vehicles are both accepted and delivered, and to have written, signed proof of all interactions. Added to this, the following actions will add an extra guarantee for workshop owners who may fall victim to claims of damage that were not, in fact, inflicted at the workshop:
- When accepting a vehicle, do a walk-around with the customer to point out and make a note of all existing scratches, dents, and marks. Pay special attention to the condition of the hubcaps and wheel rims, and whether valve caps are present.
- Make sure the customer signs his or her acknowledgment of these defects by signing the check-in or -out form.
- Take photographs of these defects before work commences, and attach the photos to the job card.
- When delivering the vehicle, present the original sign-in form confirming the prior existence of the defects.
You can obtain all necessary documentation from your local RMI office.
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