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The BBC's Karen Bowerman
"The industry hopes today's report will bring about improvements"
 real 56k

Director General OFT, John Bridgeman
"People should shop around for car servicing"
 real 28k

Thursday, 10 August, 2000, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
Garages give 'terrible service'
garage mechanic
Use garages committed to customer service, drivers told
Motorists get unacceptably poor service from garages and some work carried out can be potentially dangerous, according to a report.

The Office of Fair Trading found that sub-standard car servicing and repairs were responsible for 1.3 million extra problems for motorists each year.

The watchdog's director general John Bridgeman said the cost of unnecessary work and correcting faults caused by garages amounted to 170m annually.

He said the service provided by many large firms, franchised dealers and local garages needed a thorough overhaul.

OFT complaints
Final bills higher than expected
Garages vague about costs of a service
Consumers unable to find reliable garages
Owners think warranties tie them to certain dealers
"The question has to be asked: how many of the 40,000 serious injuries and 3,000 deaths every year in Britain may be due to poor servicing and repair?" Mr Bridgeman said.

He said the report showed that motorists held the garage industry in very low esteem.

Mr Bridgeman said the problem was exacerbated by the fact that few people had the expertise to check whether a competent, or even adequate, job has been done on their car.

David Evans, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), said the report reinforced the importance of using garages which are committed to customer service and high standards.

"Today's report is welcomed for exposing disreputable and unscrupulous garages which bring down the good name of the reputable and respectable trade," he said.

'Rejuvenate confidence'

"The Retail Motor Industry Federation has taken huge steps to improve and monitor standards and rejuvenate consumer confidence in garages."

The RMI - which represents about 10,000 garages across the UK - has welcomed proposals in the report to set up a task force to monitor the industry.

"The RMI's training arm takes extremely seriously the issue of training and sees it as paramount to the industry's future," Mr Evans said.

There are around 25 million car services each year in the UK.

The Office of Fair Trading receives approximately 10,000 complaints about service and repair garages - less than 0.25 % of all services done.

"There is a great deal of work being done to improve public perception and quality of service in this sector," Mr Evans said.

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22 Apr 99 | The Company File
Car repairers face competition probe
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