There is no reason why they should not repair a car while it still has a maintenance plan.

When a friend accosted me with questions about his extended maintenance contract on a well-known German-brand car, I couldn’t help smiling.

His question was: what recourse does he have if none of the faults on the car have been repaired, and he has escalated the complaint to the highest level possible? His other, more pressing, concern was that the extended policy was going to expire soon and no one was getting back to him.

His concern was that the dealership was waiting for the maintenance plan to expire and then charge him exorbitant amounts to repair said vehicle. So, I advised him to continue calling the person at the dealership with whom he had dealt previously and not let up until he received some sort of commitment from the dealership to resolve his problem.

IT’S UP TO YOU

I have found that when a dealership does not call you back the onus is on you to keep the pressure on them. Call the service advisor and ask him /her what is happening. Don’t be bullied into accepting inferior work.

If your maintenance plan is still valid do not allow the dealership to give you any stories as to why your vehicle can’t be repaired properly.

Also, do not give up because you have to take your car back more than once to resolve a problem. If you have a problem with one dealership, try another. There is no reason why a dealership should not repair, to your satisfaction, your motor vehicle, while it still has a maintenance plan.

My other gripe with dealerships is incorrect diagnosis.

Why does a customer have to pay for a repair that does not actually solve his problem?

If the problem persists, does the client not have the right to demand that the problem be solved at no extra cost? Or must he continue paying until the dealership finally gets it right?

I may not have all the answers but I do know that the motor industry has a terrible reputation and we as repair centres are not helping to improve that image. Why are some repair centres and dealerships allowed to get away with daylight robbery? My tirade was not directed at one dealership but at the industry as a whole.

What happens when you get blown off by any repair centre after they have charged you for a repair that was not complete? If the repair centre is a member of the Retail Motor Industry organisation, and you cannot settle the dispute amicably, the RMI will mediate. If you are still not satisfied you may also approach the Motoring Ombudsman.

Sagie Moodley is a workshop owner in Midrand and presents a radio motoring show on Kaya FM.

If you’re having trouble with a repair or need some used-car advice, he’ll be happy to try and offer a solution.

E-mail your query to the Motoring Editor. - Star Motoring