OFT OKs Car Repair and Servicing Code of Practice

Jack Humphrey, Regulatory journalist
December 07, 2011 /

The Motor Industry Service and Repair Code has received OFT approval for its code of practice under the OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS).

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

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 gives the OFT powers to approve and promote consumer codes of practice.

The OFT 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 include 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.”

Chris Mason, Managing Director at Motor Codes, added: “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.”

Motor Codes previously secured approval for its New Car code under the OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme in September 2004.

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.

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.


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