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Consumer Protection Act (CPA) – What you need to know about car maintanence

Following on from the last article on the Consumer Protection Act, here we look at how the CPA protects motorists when it’s time for that dreaded service or repairs. All motorists know that sinking feeling when your vehicle needs its usual service, or worse, when you hear that clunking sound that you know means a cash outlay. If you’re afraid of taking your car in for its well-deserved service or repairs, fear not.

The CPA has made this process a lot simpler for consumers, ensuring they are protected and get their money’s worth. The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) provides a few tips on what you need to know:
  • When your car is ready for its regular service (and if you are not on a motor plan) or it needs a repair, the first step after taking it to the AA Quality Assured repair centre is to confirm what the work is going to cost you. The repair centre has to send you a quote or discuss the quote with you before commencing work. If you have not given approval of the costs before the work is done, you cannot be charged for it.
  • With more modern vehicles, service providers often need to conduct diagnostic work in order to determine the problem and only then can they quote. Be very clear that the service provider cannot, under the CPA, charge you for this diagnostic work. 
  • Also, the CPA states that a service provider cannot charge you an amount higher than the original quote, unless you have signed off on the new amount. Should they exceed the approved amount, you are not liable for payment.
The main thing to remember when it comes to services and repairs is, thanks to the CPA, that you are in control. If you are unsure of what the service provider is telling you then request a second opinion. And do not give any approvals without receiving a detailed written cost estimate beforehand. The CPA is there to protect the consumer, so be smart and know your rights. 

For more information, you can download the full Consumer Protection Act here.

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