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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 10:36 GMT
Car buyers promised 'fairer deal'
Smooth-talking car salesman Swiss Toni, played by Charlie Higson
New car buyers will have access to independent arbitration
New car buyers will have access to a conciliation service and independent arbitration to help settle disputes with manufacturers under a new code.

Car makers breaking the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) code will face fines.

All major makers and most small ones have signed up to the code which also promotes clearer warranty and sales information for buyers.

The code is the first to be approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Dealers will now be able to display a new OFT logo.

Problem areas

The SMMT code sets out standards that vehicle manufacturers have to comply with on new car sales.

The OFT approved code logo means consumers know they are dealing with a supplier who has promised to treat them fairly if problems arise
Penny Boys, OFT

Under the code, car makers will be expected to offer new car buyers:

  • Information on where unhappy consumers can seek redress to be included in warranty information
  • A conciliation and independent arbitration service
  • Regular surveys so that manufacturers can see problem areas that need to be addressed.

Car makers that breach the code will build up 'penalty points'. If enough points are accrued then a fine will be imposed.

High standards

The code is the first of its kind to be officially sanctioned under an OFT approved scheme.

The OFT will only approve codes that are shown to safeguard and promote consumers' interests beyond the basic requirements of the law.

"The OFT codes scheme is deliberately rigorous and demands commitment to high standards of customer service from code sponsors and members," said Penny Boys, OFT executive director.

"The OFT approved code logo means consumers know they are dealing with a supplier who has promised to treat them fairly if problems arise."


SEE ALSO:
Car prices down across the board
12 Aug 04 |  Business
How to save on your car insurance
04 Feb 04 |  Business
Cost of secondhand cars plummets
29 Jul 03 |  Business
Car dealer costs 'nearly double'
27 May 03 |  Business


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