Beware of car repair imposters, warns the RMI

Beware of car repair imposters, warns the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) is warning motorists and fleet owners not to be duped by repairers claiming to be RMI members, when in fact they are not. “We are aware of several cases over the last 12 months where repairers have brandished RMI logos and insignia in their workshops claiming to be members in order to get business,” says Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI.

He says that in order to provide the consumer with motoring peace of mind, the RMI and its constituent associations has developed minimum industry standards that apply to facilities, tools, equipment and human resources. These are periodically audited and enforced. “Once a business is accredited, it can display the insignia or logos of the RMI and the relevant association. When a member stops being a member in good standing, such as when the business cancels its membership, or fails to meet the minimum requirements for accreditation, it is no longer permitted to display such insignia and logos. The RMI takes great care to ensure that members who proclaim to be accredited members, meet the minimum industry requirements as this protects the consumer,” he explains.

Unfortunately, he says, there have been some businesses that no longer qualify for accredited membership of the RMI but still display the insignia and logo. “The RMI takes strict legal action against such businesses, in order to protect the integrity of the RMI and the best interests of the consumer,” says Olivier.

Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), an affiliate association of the RMI, says it too has encountered this issue. “It was brought to our attention by an insurer who did a background check on a workshop and discovered that the workshop claiming to be a MIWA member wasn’t one. We took immediate action and the MIWA signage has since been removed.”

So, as a consumer how can you be sure that the repairer you are dealing with is a bona fide member? Ranft explains that when an RMI and MIWA member becomes a member they receive a certificate of membership as well as a code of conduct that includes a membership expiry sticker. “The membership certificate and code of conduct should be up on display in the workshop. You can check the expiry date on either of these. If they are not visible, you are within your rights to ask to see the certificate or code to verify if in fact they are current members,” he says.

If you suspect that the workshop is fraudulently posing as a member, you are urged to contact the RMI or its association to report the workshop. Olivier recommends that consumers access the RMI website, www.rmi.org.za, or call any one of the RMI’s Regional offices to find the nearest RMI-affiliated supplier or to verify whether businesses that display the RMI or it constituent associations’ insignia are legit.

“Consumers must be vigilant when they accept the credentials of businesses purporting to be RMI accredited members. Accredited RMI members will proudly display logos of the RMI and its constituent associations to inform consumers that it has complied with criteria and minimum industry standards. When you see the RMI logo on motor-related businesses you can be assured of quality goods and services, at a reasonable price, with suppliers honouring both the letter and the spirit of any guarantees that accompanies the provisions of such products and/or services,” says Olivier.

“Please do not hesitate to report any business’s falsely purporting to be an RMI member to any of the RMI’s regional office. We will, and must take legal action, against these businesses,” he concludes.

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