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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Car dealer cowboys targeted
Car engine
Poor servicing is a common complaint
West Yorkshire's trading standards officers are hoping to wipe out fraudulent car dealers and mechanics with a new partnership agreement.

They are encouraging garage owners to sign up to a code of practice that will give car buyers extra security.

Members of the scheme must demonstrate a "commitment to fair, safe and honest trade practices" in independent ausits by the officers.

Customers are being encouraged to use the member companies to improve the image of decent traders.

People ring up and ask for advice on buying a car and we're not allowed to warn them about rogue traders.

Graham Hebblethwaite, trading standards
Martin Wood, chief trading standards officer, said: "The motor trade is unfortunately notoriously wary of trading standards.

"This scheme will help to forge better relations.

"We are trying to provide a level playing field for everyone."

The Motor Trade Partnership requires members to:

  • Comply with the spirit and letter of the law

  • Carry out mileage checks on used vehicles

  • Have an established customer complaints procedure

  • Ensure advertisements are truthful and not misleading

West Yorkshire Trading Standards say 19% of all the customer complaints they receive are related to the motor industry.

car trader with customers
Honest traders should benefit from the scheme
They range from poor servicing and the sale of unroadworthy vehicles to misleading pricing.

Graham Hebblethwaite, an officer in Leeds, said that inviting customers to go to certain traders was a good solution to the problem.

"It's annoying sometimes because we've got to be independent so we can't use all the information in our system.

"People ring up and ask for advice on buying a car and we're not allowed to warn them about rogue traders.

"Now we can direct them to dealers we're confident we don't have a problem with."

The scheme is operating in Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield and Wakefield.

See also:

18 Jun 01 | Business
Targeting rogue traders
09 Oct 00 | Business
Rogue traders cost billions
24 Jul 00 | UK
Rip-off traders evading law
16 Feb 00 | Business
New clampdown on rogue traders
18 Apr 00 | Business
Is Britain being ripped off?
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