1. Do your homework. Before lodging a complaint, make sure that you understand all the elements of the original purchase agreement. This will include the sales agreement; warranty document and service plan if applicable. Make sure that your vehicle's service record is current and that the service schedule has been stamped by the servicing dealer.

2. Your selling or servicing dealer cannot abdicate his or her responsibility. The first step you take if you have a complaint is to contact your service or selling dealer, find out who the right person is to speak to and make an appointment to discuss the complaint with the designated person.

3. Keep emotions in check.Remember, your service or selling dealer is a human being and his / her place of work is his / her space. Approach the matter in a civilised way. Keep records of all discussions, intentions and promises.

4. Be assertive without being rude.If you are not happy with the way the complaint is being dealt with, insist on the service or selling dealer arranging for a manufacturer's representative to review the complaint. (Keep records).

5. Stay the course. If at this point you are still not happy with the way that your complaint is being dealt with, contact the customer care department of your vehicle's manufacturer. (Keep records)

6. Do not let up.In the unlikely event that you are still not happy with the way your complaint is being dealt with, contact the office of the Motor Industry Ombudsman. (MIO). This can be done in the following way:

If you are on line, you can simply complete the complaint form provided fully and e-mail it to the Ombudsman's office.
You can fax a complaint form to the Ombudsman's office by downloading the form, completing it fully and sending it through to the number provided. Click on 'complaint' in the main menu, then 'download form to perform this task.
You can phone the Ombudsman's office and request that a complaint form is faxed or mailed to you.
You can mail your fully completed complaint form to the Ombudsman's office.
Once received, your complaint will be forwarded under a covering letter to the dealer / manufacturer in question for their comment. If required, an MIO technician will be dispatched to carry out an inspection. (Please note that any inspection will be for the complainant's account) Upon receipt of all the relevant documentation, the case will be technically and legally assessed and a recommendation forwarded.