Ethical behaviour is defined in the dictionary as a system of moral principles. In other words, it is a behaviour that is in tandem with what is acceptable in our everyday society.

In the motor industry, like in most others, it can be described as the acceptance of certain professional standards. Well, there are many consumers who would vehemently argue that the standards practised every day are not up to standard. One is totally frustrated when one hears of how consumers comment on how they were treated, when you know the service provider was only trying to provide a service within his or her means at the time.


The service provider has an ethical responsibility to stay within the limits prescribed clearly by the consumer protection act and the automotive code of conduct. This is an important guideline for not only the service provider, but also for the consumer.


It is therefore of cardinal importance that the parties confine their perceived differences within the guidelines of the code and the consumer protection act. The above-mentioned code of practice, as well as the consumer protection act, was established to provide guidelines to ensure the ethical behaviour of not only the service provider but also the consumer.

It is therefore of paramount importance for every service provider and consumer to make themselves aware of these practical guidelines provided by the authorities. However, ethical behaviour in the automotive industry demands that service providers not only provide a service within the guidelines of the code of conduct, but also service that can be associated with the general definition of ethical behaviour. In these difficult times it is of even more importance to treat consumers with respect and dignity that they, as paying customers, deserve.


With the above in mind, it is clear that knowledge of the automotive code of conduct, as well as a general knowledge of the consumer protection act, will assist both parties in their dealings. This will result in better communication between the parties as well as better relationships between service providers and consumers. To the benefit of all concerned.




Johan van Vreden

Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa

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