better ways of communicating with your mechanicHaving repairs to your vehicle done properly the first time and for the minimum cost outlay depends a lot on how you as the customer approach the matter, and communicate with your mechanic.
Here are some tips for good communication to avoid misunderstandings and disputes with your mechanic:
Explain the problem clearly
- Provide as much information as possible to your mechanic.
- This will make it easier for them to identify faults.
- Inform your mechanic of when the problem occurs, for example, cold mornings or slowing to a stop.
- Go for a drive with the repairer to point out any problems.
- When your car is serviced, point out anything that needs checking - don't assume problems will be found.
Confirm details in writing
- Ask for a written quote that includes:
- work to be done,
- parts to be supplied,
- estimated time of completion,
- method of payment,
- estimate of cost for both parts and labour.
- Ask your mechanic to contact you before doing any work outside the quote.
Ask about a warranty
- Ask your mechanic what warranty they offer on their repair work.
- Find out what is offered by the manufacturer on the parts used in the repair.
- Have all warranty details noted on the invoice.
Understand what work has been done
- Make sure you understand what repairs were undertaken and why.
- Ask for an itemised account and don't be afraid to ask questions about it.
- You can ask your mechanic to show you the parts that were replaced and to explain what is wrong with them.
- Unless it is a 'change over' part, you can ask to take the part.
Discuss concerns with the mechanic
- If you're not happy with a job contact the repairer who did the work and give them a chance to explain and/ or fix the problem. Don't just take it to a different repairer
- Consider that a problem may be quite unrelated to the work that was done.
- If the repairs were carried out under insurance, contact your insurance company.
- Diagnosing a car's faults is not always straightforward.
- Modern vehicles are quite sophisticated, so the problem may not be immediately obvious.
- Repair costs may increase with the age of your vehicle
- Delays can occur with difficulty in obtaining parts.
- New parts are preferable, however sometimes they are not practical or economically viable.
- Secondhand parts can be used if they are in good working condition.
- For older vehicles, second hand parts may be all that is available.
- Used cars are not required to be repaired to a new condition under statutory warranty, only to a reasonable condition having regard to their age.
- Sometimes the cheapest repair is not the best. It might be more economical in the long run to replace a number of items at once.
For more information about your rights, call Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 558 181