The South African Motor Industry Ombudsman (MIO) received 8 640 requests for assistance from the public last year and most of the complaints from vehicle owners in 2004 were about poor service and engine problems, the independent body said recently.

The South African Motor Industry Ombudsman (MIO) received 8 640 requests for assistance from the public last year and most of the complaints from vehicle owners in 2004 were about poor service and engine problems, the independent body said recently.


Motor Industry Ombudsman spokesman Johann van Vreden said of the complaints received during the previous calendar year, "1 409 could be resolved at the first contact stage, while 7 231 developed into formal written complaints which were referred to the implicated dealers, manufacturers or importers, 2 200 of them with recommended action proposed by the Ombudsman.


"A total of 155 complaints could not be resolved up to this stage and had to be adjudicated by the MIO. Of these, 52 were resolved in the customer's favour and 65 in favour of the manufacturer/dealer. In 38 cases a compromise was reached between the parties before final adjudication.


"The estimated value of the cases dealt with amounted to R51 925 000, compared to the R33 500 000 in the previous calendar year. While this total is up considerably, the increase is largely due to the greater number of cases handled, since the value per complaint was in line with that recorded in the year before.


"Though poor service and engine (difficulties were) major sources of complaints," Van Vreden added, "(such problems) had shown a downward trend 'percentage wise'. Complaints relating to electrical systems, tyres, cooling, trim, differentials, instrumentation and ignition systems (increased)".


Van Vreden also remarked that the high growth rate of the new vehicle market had been reflected in the number of complaints received, which, in turn, necessitated an expansion of the Ombudsman's office. "The continuing support of Government, through the Provincial Consumer Councils, the Consumer Protector, the Consumer Courts, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Justice had all contributed greatly to the entrenchment of the office of the MIO," he added.


The office of the MIO can be contacted via its website, telephone (012) 361-8824, fax (012) 348-9303 or email.


Alternatively, as many automotive dealerships and workshops (at which owners bought, serviced or repaired their vehicles) are affiliated to the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) organisation, complaints can also be investigated by the RMI. Visit this site and click on the "Complaints" button, which is seventh from the top in the left-hand navigation bar on that page. Owners will find a description of the complaint procedure and will be able to fax through or log their queries electronically (note that there is a non-refundable administration fee).

Original article from Car