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AFCA finding protects consumer’s and motor body repairer rights

Posted by Ian Campbell on Monday, August 19, 2019

AFCA finding protects consumers and motor body repairer rights

A finding of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has been welcomed by the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) and the Australian Motor Body Repairers Association (AMBRA) as validation of the need for an independent consumer complaint handling authority for those experiencing difficulties with financial and insurance firms.

In this benchmark ruling, AFCA found that an insurance company was bound, under the terms of its policy, to settle a policyholder’s claim in accordance with the consumer’s preferred car repairer’s quote.

The car insurance policy entitled the policyholder to choose their own car repairer, but the policy also gave the insurer a discretion to determine how much it would pay for those repairs.

The insurer argued that the amount quoted by the preferred repairer was excessive and unreasonable and refused the policyholder’s claim. In arguing that the preferred repairer’s quote was excessive, the insurer relied on a quote from another car repairer which was substantially lower. But the insurer did not engage a qualified assessor to inspect the damaged vehicle.

AFCA found that the insurer had to exercise its discretion under the policy reasonably and in good faith. AFCA considered that it would have been reasonable for the insurer to engage a qualified assessor to inspect the damaged vehicle to assess the reasonable costs of repair and that a lower quote from another repairer was insufficient for this purpose.

AFCA went on to find that the insurer had not shown that the preferred repairer’s quote was, in fact, unreasonable and excessive. AFCA directed the insurer to pay the policyholder the amount quoted by her preferred repairer plus interest.

AMBRA said this case was significant as it underscored two recent determinations of longstanding disputes that centred on breaches of the Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry (MVIRI) voluntary Code of Conduct by some car insurers that impacted consumers and motor body repair businesses. Together these cases, which have involved significant resources and assistance by State and Territory Motor Trades Associations and Automobiles Chambers of Commerce, ensured consumers and motor body repair firms impacted by the decisions of some car insurers are addressed.

MTAA said the Federation, its Members, and AMBRA, will continue to take the necessary measures to protect consumer rights and the rights of motor vehicle body repair small businesses to fair, reasonable and good faith- based relationships.

Editor’s note:

The AFCA case and findings can be viewed at https://www.afca.org.au/what-to-expect/search-published- decisions/ and place the Case No. 620915 in the Case Numberfield. Code determination orders can be viewed at https://www.abrcode.com.au/resource-centre.aspx .

PO BOX 6298
Kingston ACT 2604
Phone: 02 51008239
Email: admin@mtaa.com.au

Further information: Richard Dudley, CEO MTAA Limited, 0412 146 828.

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You can choose your repairer

Posted by Kym Campbell on Thursday, November 30, 2017


It's important for consumers to choose a car insurer who will allow them to decide who carries out their vehicle repairs in the event of a crash. Unfortunately many consumers are unaware they don't have the right to choose until they've had an accident and contacted their insurance provider. By then it's too late.

By simply selecting the 'Any Repairer' option upon renewal of your policy, you're taking the choice back into your own hands, and can be assured you get to decide what happens to your car after an accident.

As a VACC accredited smash repairer, Total Collision are happy to offer our RACV Comprehensive Insurance customers the following VACC special offer of up to $100 reimbursement of car insurance costs*. Download your voucher and bring it in when agreeing and engaging Total Collision to complete your vehicle repairs.


(*Conditions apply: This is a unilateral offer from each participating VACC Accredited Repairer. Hand this coupon together with RACV Comprehensive Insurance Choice of Repairer ‘Certificate of Insurance’ when presenting damaged vehicle to any participating VACC Accredited Repairer. The participating repairer may be an independent repairer or insurer’s partner repairer. Reimbursement is conditional upon agreeing with participating repairer that they will be repairer of choice for claim lodged by you and then only after the participating repairer is issued with an IAG Repair Authority. This offer is only available for 12 months and will cease on 14 October 2018. This offer is not made or endorsed by RACV Insurance).

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Why choose a VACC Certified Repairer?

Posted by Kym Campbell on Thursday, November 30, 2017


VACC and consumer groups have expressed concern over the loss of freedom for consumers to choose their own crash repairer in the event of an accident. If you have not had a claim recently, the chances are the rules have changed considerably since your last accident.

When a car owner is paying for repairs, most will pay close attention to the quotes they receive and evaluate where they are getting the best value. It is up to the repairer to quote accurately, explain what they are going to do and try to win the job on service and quality values. Some insurance companies have set up recommended repairer schemes & may go to extreme lengths to have repairs carried out within their repairer network.

Choosing a Repair company

  • Make enquiries locally as to who carries out good repair work and, if possible, look at a repair completed by this repairer.
  • Get a quote from the repairer and question them on exactly what the quote means and what work will be carried out. Any repairer who wants your business will take the time to explain this to you.
  • Look at the repairer's shop and equipment. Is it clean and well laid out, a place you comfortable leaving your car to be repaired with confidence?
  • Contact your insurer and check your policy. Find out if you are required to use their repairer. If so, ensure you receive a copy of the quote and the work is explained to you. If a repairer will not give you a copy of the quote, see if the insurer will send a copy to you before you make a final decision. If they are reluctant to do this, tell them you do not want to deal with someone who is not prepared to undergo the scrutiny you require. Remember, your vehicle is your asset and you should protect your rights.
  • If you feel pressured at any time, be prepared to argue for your rights or to walk away. You should be the one to choose who works on your car.
  • You may have a repairer you are comfortable with and have dealt with previously. You will have to check your policy wording, but you can insist that your repairer carry out the work.

As an accredited VACC member, Total Collision Repairs comply with industry equipment standards, repair standards, disputation procedures and offer a minimum 3 year warranty on all repairs. Contact us to discuss your vehicles repairs.

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A Damaged Windscreen compromises vehicle safety

Posted by Kym Campbell on Thursday, November 30, 2017

The crack in your windscreen could be more serious than you think. On modern vehicles, windscreens play a key role in the overall structural strength of a car - up to 47%. A damaged windscreen could lessen the ability of the windscreen to protect the vehicle's occupants in a collision or rollover accident.

The cold, wet and dark months of winter make a breakdown unpleasant, so prevention is the key!

Tips for winter driving

  • Keep your windscreen clean, inside & out.
  • Replace brittle or cracked wiper blades.
  • Top up the fluid levels in your washer bottle.
  • Check the windscreen for small chips and cracks.
  • Get any damage fixed to stop them turning into more serious cracks.
  • Check the rubber seals around your windscreen and rear windscreen.

If your windscreen has some damage, and you're not sure whether it's roadworthy, bring it to Total Collision Repairs to have it inspected. We're a VACC accredited repairer who can take care of all vehicle windscreen chips, cracks and replacements.

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Welcome to our new website

Posted by Ian Campbell on Thursday, November 30, 2017


You might have noticed the last few days that the Total Collision Repairs website has just been updated to a great new Responsive Design. Responsive design allows our site to detect the screen size it is being pulled up on, and automatically adjust to best fit that screen size. This ensures that clients are getting the best user experience possible, regardless of whether they are viewing the site on PC, tablet or mobile device.

We would like to say a special thanks to the crew at WebsiteWise for their efforts in crafting a fantastic website for our clients.

We have added more information and features for your convenience:

  • Responsive Design to view the site anywhere, any time from your Smartphone or tablet.
  • Detailed information about the vehicle repairs and towing services we offer.
  • Detailed FAQs to assist with any questions you may have regarding our repair services.
  • Blog where we will post regular company information and industry trends.
  • Industry links to relevant industry partners.
  • Our Team web app to introduce you to our qualified staff.
  • Easy subscription to our Newsletter to receive upcoming news via email.
  • Testimonials to read what our clients have to say about their repair experience.

Please check back often as we add site updates.  Leave a comment, or get in touch, we would love to hear your feedback.


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