Wednesday, 06 July 2016 14:32

Question: A customer comes to you requesting repairs to their vehicle. You complete the requested work and they never come back to collect their car. What should you do?

Many an unwary member has been caught out in this type of circumstance, which is why MTA WA encourages repairers to record all of the important details of a job including customer contact information.

You should have a process in place which all of your employees use when a vehicle is booked for repair. At the time that a vehicle is dropped off ensure you collect the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Mobile / Telephone
  • Email
  • Make/Model Rego No.
  • When (date) work required by
  • Signed by owner/person authorising work

The MTA WA has developed a job card which records all of this information and is available from the Association.

It’s important that when you accept a vehicle for repair, that you establish that the person dropping the vehicle off for repair is the owner of the vehicle. If they are not the owner for example, it’s a company vehicle, the repairer should contact the owner to confirm the person has authority to drop vehicle off and request repairs.

If during the initial approved repairs you discover the vehicle requires further repairs you must contact the customer to have these repairs approved. The MTAWA job cards have a section on the back to fill in required details when additional work is approved such as;

  • Time/date
  • Contact person
  • Amount approved
  • Details of approved repairs

Note: the contact person should be the same person who signed the job card and approved the initial repairs.

If the repair meets or exceeds the perceived value of the vehicle ask for a substantial deposit before commencing the repair.

Also advise that the storage costs will apply if the finished vehicle is not picked after seven (7) days. This should be listed under your “Terms of Trade” as on the MTWA job cards.

Where the vehicle is not collected use the following steps:

  1. You can then use the contact details from the JOB CARD to contact (email or mail, registered preferred) the owner/person authorised work to advise that the vehicle is ready for pick up and that if it is not picked up after 7 days (allow i.e. 2 weeks) storage costs will apply. Include a date you expect a response from the owner.
  2. Send a Letter of Demand, the MTA WA has a template for members use.
  3. If the owner does not respond. You may contact (email or mail, registered preferred) again and if the owner is unable to pay for the repair, and the vehicles value is similar to that of the repairs ask for transfer of ownership to settle the account. MTAWA can assist with a letter of offer to resolve outstanding account if required. If he agrees, commence transfer of ownership of vehicle so that you can dispose of it to recover costs. Make sure you do a PPSR check BEFORE transferring the vehicle.
  4. Do not release the vehicle without payment as you have a repairer’s lien.

If this process is unsatisfactory because you are not able to get in touch with or obtain a response from the owner of the vehicle, you will have Three options;

  1. Seek resolution through a debt collection agency.
  2. If you have contact details of owner of vehicle/goods, proceed to claim payment through the Magistrates Court of WA Civil Matters
  3. If you don’t have contact details or you don’t want to uses the Courts proceed with the ‘Disposal of Uncollected Goods’. This is not the preferred option as it is time consuming and lengthy.

NOTE: If the repaired item is not a vehicle i.e. it is an engine, similar process applicable to transfer ownership to repairer.

About the author

MTA WA Division Manager Marie Donato has been involved in the automotive industry since 1988. She’s got an extensive automotive background and served motor trade business owners at the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce and MTA WA across a wide range of sectors including body repair; parts recyclers; tyre; motorcycle; farm machinery dealers; engine reconditioners; special charter vehicles; school bus; tour and charter; and commercial vehicles. She has extensive networks across government at all levels and key industry stakeholders such as the insurance industry where she has a reputation as a tenacious and passionate member advocate.

More information

For more information contact MTA WA on 9233 9800 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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