Does the customer always know best? How to protect yourself.

Public news

Ever completed repairs and have customers:

  • Come back to you questioning repairs done on their vehicle?
  • Refuse to pay for work complete?
  • Demand their money back or threaten to take you to court?

Then you may have trouble proving what repairs were agreed to before you started working on the vehicle.

MTA member Michael Stagg of MD Auto Care and Midcoast Tyres shares the tools he uses to legally safeguard his business from customer disputes.

“I use Repair Authorities on bigger jobs, jobs that I think will be a bit of a pain or when I get a feeling I should with some customers.”

Repair Authorities are a simple, signed agreement between a repairer and their customer, which outlines the work that will be completed on the customer’s vehicle, before the work is undertaken.

“Repair Authorities provide security. We’ve had a few customers bite us, so to speak, so it’s a safeguard. Without them, there is nothing to fall back on legally. These days people are more inclined to say ‘I’m going to sue you’.”

The MTA provides support for MTA members undergoing repair disputes and to support the repairer’s legal position in these situations, the MTA created a binding agreement called the Repair Authority.

“If there is anything I was unsure about with using Repair Authorities, the MTA rep calls in and we have a bit of a chat.

Repair Authorities outline what you, as a repairer, will explore or repair, so the business and customer know and acknowledge what will be done with their vehicle. If a dispute arises after the repair or exploratory work is complete, then your business is in a strong legal position provided you have adhered to the agreement.

The MTA Repair Authority covers:

  • Warranty provisions and requirements in the event of a claim
  • Loss of data in the customer’s vehicle
  • Repairer’s duty of care under the Road Traffic (Light Vehicle Standards) (2018) Rules 19, 20 to report any serious defects to DPTI or SAPOL.
  • Payment terms and what may happen if a customer doesn’t pay
  • Explaining what diagnose time is and costs involved for the customer (at the discretion of the repairer)
  • Repairer’s limit of liability if customers refuse any recommended parts or services
  • Customer supplied parts and the use of reconditioned parts
  • Storage charges
  • Sub-let repairs

“Definitely look into Repair Authorities; it’s a safeguard and a must in this day and age.” Michael Stagg, MD Auto Care and Midcoast Tyres.

To access Repair Authorities contact MTA Print print@mtasant.com.au. MTA Members can access the sample template from the MTA’s Membership Portal here.

For MTA support with Repair Authorities or navigating customer disputes, become a MTA member. Contact our team of specialists on mta@mtasant.com.au or 8291 2000 to join.