The Motor Trades Association of Australia Limited (MTAA) and the Australian Motor Body Repairers Association (AMBRA) has issued a warning to Motor Body Repair business owners to be vigilant when considering contracts offered by car insurance companies.
At a national meeting in Sydney this week, AMBRA delegates and observers from all states and territories discussed complaints received from some members that they were being pressured to sign contracts, be they for short or longer terms, as a preferred repairer for an insurance company, or for the provision of vehicle repair work or authority to undertake a repair. MTAA and AMBRA again urged motor body repair businesses to seek legal and financial advice on any contracts before signing to ensure legal and regulatory compliance, particularly in regard to regulations on unfair contract terms and conditions.
MTAA and AMBRA said it was also important for motor body repair businesses to continue to familiarise themselves, and where appropriate use the national voluntary smash repair and insurance industry Code of Conduct and requirements. The call follows examination of notified disputes including trending causes, disputes proceeding to mediation and in particular the implications of two recent determinations provided in Victoria and NSW. The determinations, which in accordance with requirements of the Code of Conduct are binding, conclude two disputes that were raised under the dispute mediation and determination provisions of the Code.
MTAA and AMBRA also resolved to investigate and implement additional support measures to assist highly stressed motor body repair business owners following consideration of reports that business stress was translating into mental health concerns. MTAA and AMBRA will prepare additional communications to strengthen ‘RUOK’ initiatives and provide improved links to qualified assistance such as Lifeline, Beyond Blue and other services.
AMBRA reviewed a busy 2018 including significant work by MTAA, State and Territory association Members and AMBRA on matters including reports and submissions to: the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Western Australia Parliamentary Inquiry into that State’s smash repair industry, which has led to MPs in WA calling for an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into claims of “market abuse”.
2019 is shaping as a watershed year for the long-term viability, sustainability and profitability of the motor vehicle repair industry with AMBRA, MTAA and State and Territory Association Members determining future actions and operations for 2019 as the industry strives for a safe, viable, sustainable, profitable motor body repair industry that serves and protects consumers.
For further Information contact the MTAA Secretariat on (02) 5100 8239.