Richard Green, national director of the South African Motor Body Repair Association (Sambra), says legally if the insurer fails to make payment on the due date for services rendered, a Sambra member is within its rights to retain the vehicle, or if the vehicle has already been released, to claim full value from the customer.
Green explains that on most contracts initially signed upfront by the customer there is a clause that states that the customer will then be liable for any outstanding invoices as well as for costs associated with storage and administration.
“Clearly this is not a satisfactory arrangement for the unsuspecting motorist or the repairer who has no guarantee of receiving monies for work completed,” says Green.
Have you taken hire car cover? It is very inconvenient being without your car, so carefully consider this option. Check who gives authorisation to the repairer - The authorisation to the repairer is often provided by the broker on behalf of the insurer.
While it is your right to choose your own repairer, it is very important that you choose a repairer that belongs to a reputable association such as Sambra as this ensures the repairer has achieved accreditation criteria that should result in the delivery of excellent service and quality.
In the event that your insurer does not pay the invoice to your chosen repairer, the repairer is entitled to retain your vehicle until full payment is made. In other words, if your insurer does not pay, you are liable.
When first choosing a vehicle be aware that fancy colours are far more expensive to repair. Be aware that if you have added accessories to your vehicle they may not be covered unless you have advised your insurer and they are noted either under comprehensive or specified cover.
“At the end of the day knowledge is king. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of your repair and your claim rather than being caught unawares and being left with a hefty bill when you least expect it. Take the time upfront to go through some of these important points,” concludes Green.