Not insured and need to get your car fixed

Today not everyone has the luxury of having car insurance.  Equally with money so tight these days, even if you are insured it may be better to manage the repair yourself and avoid the excess payment or the loss of your no claim bonus.

The last thing you need is to be disappointed with the quality of the repair work completed or the unexpected cost of the repair. Most problems that occur between motor body repairers and their customers are a result of miscommunication.

Richard Green, the national director of the South African Motor Body Repairers Association (SAMBRA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says miscommunication can be frustrating and expensive, particularly at a time when everyone is feeling the economic effects of the pandemic.

He says the first rule is to ensure you only go to an accredited motor body repairer where there is recourse if any problems occur. “Remember experience and track record are non-negotiables when looking for the correct repairer.”

Once you have selected the correct repairer, it then all comes down to accurate and concise communication.

Here’s what you need to ensure:

-Full contact details: When you bring in your vehicle for any service or repairs, make sure to leave all your contact information. It is very likely that you may need to be called, emailed or texted regarding a decision on your car and you need to be available to make an informed decision.

– Authorise repairs to a specific amount: If you are unavailable, your job could be delayed and taken off the bay until you can be reached. Accessibility is key. If you are not available all the time then you can authorise repairs up to a specific amount. Any work beyond that will need your consent.  Remember one of the biggest difficulties repairers face resulting in unhappy customers, is not being able to complete a job on time and on budget. If you have a strict budget, tell the Advisor. This will go a long way toward insuring you will be happy with the results.

-Be clear with your expectations: Manage expectations by explaining to the Repairer when you will require your car by. In this way the repairs can be scheduled accordingly.

-Prioritise your concerns:  If you have a long list of repairs requiring attention, please prioritise your list and be clear if some of the minor items can be put off for another day.

– Don’t be afraid to sound ignorant: If you do not understand what the Advisor is saying, ask questions until you do understand. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t understand right away. This is a complex subject; it’s their job to help you.

-Give all the symptoms: When you bring your vehicle in for repair, give the Advisor an accurate description of the damage which needs to be repaired and the symptoms your vehicle is displaying. The more precise you can be the better it is for everyone, including your bank account!  Remember it is almost impossible to detect all the damage at first glance. Only superficial damage is obvious. Generally it is only once the vehicle has been thoroughly inspected that a full and accurate quote can be given.

-Don’t withhold some of the facts: Some customers believe they will save money by withholding some of the facts or are just too embarrassed to tell every detail. Leaving out critical information often results in additional problems and will cost you more money.

-Make an informed decision: When you are told your vehicle needs a costly repair, your first question should always be, “Is this vehicle worth investing in? How many more years do you think it can be safely driven?”  There is also nothing wrong in getting a second opinion if you are not sure what to do. Just ensure you are getting a view from a reputable, accredited repairer.

-Be Patient: Remember your repairer is doing his/her best to keep you happy so please be patient, particularly during Covid. Many of the shops are not working on full staff complements and have had to introduce a number of added hygiene protocols to ensure the safety of your vehicle and staff.  Believe it or not there are 23 steps which your car needs to go through from the time you arrive at our repair shop to the time you collect your repaired vehicle.  These stringent processes take additional time and may slightly delay traditional repair times.  At the end of the day, you will be thankful for the added time and attention to detail.