More consumers turn to Ombudsman.

Complaints handled by the Motor Industry Ombudsman during 2008 escalated in value to more than R109 million, or 18, 5 percent, over the figure of R92 million in 2007.

The Ombudsmanís Annual Report for 2008 states that this rise in value was accompanied by an increase of 15, 2 percent to 17 039 in the number of complaints lodged with the Ombudsmanís office.

The increase in the number of complaints was largely due to damage caused by external factors such the increasing congestion of the countryís roads, ongoing major road works, and the general deterioration of roads, all of which have greatly contributed to vehicle breakdowns. It is heartening to see, says the Ombud that complaints in most instances did not originate from product defects but rather from these external factors.

Consumers also played their role in conflict situations during the year by not complying with service schedules, warranty terms and conditions, failing to honour monthly instalments and in some cases purposely or unconsciously abusing their vehicles.

The result of credit conditions before the promulgation of the National Credit Act continued to dog consumers during 2008. The over extending of household budgets resulted in many consumers wanting to return their vehicles, and this in turn formed the basis of complaints they lodged with the Ombud.

Poor service again accounted for the largest number of complaints (11, 1%), followed by clutches (8, 8%), engines (8%) and cooling systems (7, 2%).

The Ombudsman, states that customer care has become one of the most important cornerstones which will determine who will continue to sell vehicles in these trying times and who will probably not. The intervention of the Ombudsman has contributed greatly to assisting dealers with customer retention

For further information please call the Motor Industry Ombudsman of SA on (012) 841-2945. You can also visit the Ombudsmanís web site at, to view the full report.


Issued by Ruben Els, R & V Communications, tel: 083 302 6602 on behalf of the Office of the Motor Industry Ombudsman




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