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New code of practice for garages

29 August 08 05:27 GMT

The motor industry is launching a new code of practice for garages, aimed at guaranteeing minimum standards of service and protection for customers.

Inspection visits will be carried out by RAC engineers, and customers will be encouraged to give their feedback.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said it would deliver "reassurance for the motorist".

The Office of Fair Trading said the code would give a "much higher standard of protection than required by law".

The new code will require that all approved garages follow certain rules, including:

Garages on the approved list will be subject to a range of sanctions and even termination of membership if they fail to maintain standards.

The code also introduces a low-cost independent redress scheme for customers, and information about this must be easily available in member garages.

Approved logo

Chris Mason, from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, told the BBC: "It's the first time the industry has really pulled together to deliver one consistent method of reassurance for the motorist."

He said the code would be enforced "primarily through a compliance visit to the garage to make sure that they are who they claim to be and are doing what they claim to be able to do".

Garages which achieve a high enough standard will be entitled to display an Office of Fair Trading approved logo.

Charles Wallace, head of consumer codes at the OFT, said: "Consumers need to know that when they take their car to a garage they are going to be treated in an honest and reliable manner.

"By using a garage that has an approved code, customers can be assured that they will receive a much higher standard of protection than required by law."

Last year, there were more than 23,000 complaints about garages to the government's consumer advice line.

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