Car repair and servicing code of practice

Car_repair_customer protection code

OFT press release 22 November 2011 – 126/11

OFT approves car repair and servicing code of practice

Booking in a vehicle for work at a garage can be worrying. How much will it cost and what else will be wrong? Our personal feeling is that pricing and quality of service have improved as times are hard in the motor trade, and they are working hard for your business.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced some good news. The OFT can approve codes of practice under its Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. The code which gets the thumbs up is the Motor Industry Service and Repair Code. The code applies to cars and vans, and as we read it not motorcycles. 

The code of practice is run by Motor Codes and has 6,500 franchised dealers and independent garages as members.

The OFT says it only approves codes that have proved effective in safeguarding and promoting consumers’ interests, going further than the basic requirements of the law. Key features and benefits of the Motor Industry Service and Repair Code are:

  • comprehensive monitoring of member garages, including inspection visits by independent RAC engineers
  • quotes or estimates for work include a written breakdown of costs, detailing the charges for labour and parts
  • where further work is required, the member garage must get customer permission before proceeding with this
  • member garages do not take upfront deposits
  • independent disciplinary procedures are in place, with a range of sanctions including warnings and termination of membership, to deal with garages that breach the Code
  • a low-cost independent redress scheme is available to customers
  • all customers can give online feedback about the garage on the Motor Codes website.

Colin Brown, Director in the OFT’s Goods and Consumer Group, said:

‘Getting your car repaired and serviced can be a daunting experience.’

‘Today’s announcement is good news for drivers, who can be confident that where they see an OFT approved code logo they will receive a high standard of service and will be treated fairly if problems arise. I congratulate Motor Codes on its work in driving up standards for consumers in the car repair and servicing sector.’

Chris Mason, Managing Director at Motor Codes, said:

‘Motor Codes set out to improve standards in the car service and repair sector and raise consumer confidence, highlighting responsible businesses. This announcement sends a clear message that we offer a comprehensively backed code of practice and our large network of garages delivers real peace of mind for the consumer.’

Your Key comments: The code of practice is exactly what you would expect from any business. You want to know exactly what the work will cost, and to be able to agree before anything else is done. It looks pretty basic to us, but it does include a low cost method of sorting out problems. If a code of practice like this catches on then the consumer gains as the members must live up to their promise. So overall it must be a good thing but it is surprising it has taken until 2011 to get to this point.

NOTES

  1. A copy of the Motor Industry Service and Repair Code is available from the Motor Codes website.
  2. The OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) aims to promote and safeguard consumer interests by helping consumers to identify better businesses, and to encourage those businesses to raise their standards of customer service. The core criteria cover the organisation of the code sponsor, the preparation and content of the code, complaints handling, monitoring, compliance and publicity. The Enterprise Act 2002 (Part 1, Section 8) gives the OFT powers to approve and promote consumer codes of practice.
  3. Motor Codes previously secured approval for its New Car code under the OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme in September 2004.
  4. Robert Bosch Ltd’s Bosch Car Service (BCS) successfully secured approval for its motor vehicle mechanical repair and service sector consumer code of practice under the OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme in July 2007.
  5. The OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme consists of two stages. During Stage One the code must meet the OFT’s published core criteria, which contain measures designed to remove or ease consumer concerns about undesirable trading practices. At Stage Two the code sponsor must prove that its code lives up to the promises made in Stage One by demonstrating that the code is being effectively implemented by its members and that consumer disputes are properly resolved. The Motor Industry Service and Repair Code completed Stage One in August 2008.
  6. More information on the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme.

We hope Playmobil apprciate the free advertising.