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Clean up your garage

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05 Jan 2009 14:35

Consumer Minister Gareth Thomas today launched a new drive to raise standards of car servicing and repairs. He wants garages to sign up to a Code of Practice. He today wrote to MPs asking them to contact garages in their constituencies and urge them to sign up to the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Servicing and Repair. He has also asked them to bring this Code to the attention of consumers in their area.

This Code was launched at the end of the summer and is designed to improve the standards of garages across the country. To date over 5,000 garages have already signed up to the Code with more joining every day, but more need to join to make this code a success for consumers and for business.

Gareth Thomas believes it is important that good garages across the country show their customers and prospective customers that they are prepared to commit to this industry standard by signing up to the code.

Gareth Thomas said:

"When you book your car in for a service or repair, it can be a lottery whether you get a good deal or are taken for a ride. This tough new scheme will drive out the cowboy garages that charge for unnecessary work or miss major faults through incompetence.

"Many garages are already driving up standards by committing themselves to this Code. Regular inspections coupled with an enforcement regime will ensure consistency of service. A helpline for advice and a searchable guide will help people to get a good deal and help garages to raise consumer confidence in their services.

"Garages that don't want to their business to get left behind should sign up to this Code as soon as possible."

People who want to find a good garage they can trust should visit http://www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk or call 0800 692 0825.

Mystery shopping surveys continue to confirm the sub-standard practices across the country revealed in BERR research and which estimated a cost to motorists of up to 4 billion a year. For example:

* 43% of garages did not provide customers with an accurate quote prior to the service
* 40% of garages missed/did not replace at least one item on the service schedule. This was particularly so for female car owners - 58%
* 12% of independent garages carried out work that had not been agreed with customers prior to the work being undertaken

Notes

Advice to garages: The Code is an industry-wide, self-regulating code of practice to promote and safeguard consumers' interests by helping them identify better businesses and encouraging garages to raise their standards of customer service
* Any garage in the UK who service and/or repair cars or light commercial vehicles can sign up to the Code, providing they agree to meet the standards set
* Annual subscription fee will be 75 per outlet, with a further cost of 175 every 24 months for a compliance check
* Full details can be requested by interested garages by contacting enquiries@carserviceandrepair.co.uk
* The Code will be monitored by the Code administrator (Motor Codes Ltd), who is in turn monitored by the Office of Fair Trading
* Subscribing garages will face a regular unannounced compliance check to ensure they continue to meet the standards set out in the Code

Advice to consumers:
* Visit http://www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk to identify your nearest subscribing garage
* In the event of a dispute:
* Speak to the garage's dedicated customer service representative
- If unable to resolve complaint, phone the free consumer advice line - 0800 692 0825
- Refer complex cases to the conciliation service
- If conciliation does not resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the consumer, subscribers will agree to independent arbitration, with a fixed fee for each party, if the consumer wishes.
* Feedback on garages visited via freepost reply forms available at each garage or online via http://www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk, allows garage customers the opportunity of appraising Motor Codes Ltd of the sector performance.
Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
7th Floor, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET


About the Author

Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-01-05 21:47:18 in Business Articles

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