Press release

Better service for motorists at garages

Customer service from garages is to be improved under a package of transparency and value-for-money measures.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Motorists are set for improvements in customer service from garages under a package of transparency and value-for-money measures unveiled today by Transport Secretary Justine Greening.

An evaluation of existing MOT test standards and frequency took account of the views and evidence offered by a wide range of organisations.

In particular, it considered data from Department for Transport executive agency VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) showing that more than a quarter (27.7%) of vehicles tested in 2010 to 2011 had one or more car defects that were either missed by MoT test centres or incorrectly assessed.

The VOSA data also showed that the roadworthiness of one-in-eight cars (12.4%) was being incorrectly assessed by MoT test centres.

As a result, the government will work with industry, motoring organisations and consumer groups to focus on the reliability and standards of garages. The government has decided to:

  • retain the existing rules on MOT test frequency since the evidence shows that vehicle defects are being missed and roadworthiness mis-assessed
  • shine a light on the performance of MOT testing stations by releasing hitherto unpublished VOSA survey data on whether the sector is complying with test standards - this is published today
  • work with motoring organisations to find out what problems motorists experience and enable them to share examples of good customer service - in particular to find ways to make it easier for customers to give feedback on their experiences of garages in a way that others can see - potentially in the manner of existing online hotel and restaurant review websites
  • encourage the take up of industry codes of practice - and expand them to include MOT testing - so that customers can find garages signed up to schemes delivering the highest standards and take action if they have not received the service they expect
  • help motorists to spot “clocked” second hand vehicles, by changing MOT certificates so that they carry the last 3 years’ mileage information as well as the mileage on the day of the test, and encourage car buyers to check full MOT histories using the online MOT database
  • arrange “mystery shopper” tests to help improve performance in addition to those already carried out by VOSA

Justine Greening said:

Our garages are crucial to ensuring that Britain’s roads continue to be among the safest in the world. Most are doing good work but the latest data shows that there is room for improvement.

I want each motorist to be confident that a visit to the garage ends with their car repaired to a high standard by reputable mechanics rather than uncertainty about cost and the quality of service.

Giving drivers the very best information about garage performance is absolutely key to achieving this goal. It means that responsible garages will be well placed to reap the commercial benefits of transparency. Garages where performance is not up to scratch will find themselves under pressure to do more for their customers.

Notes to editors

There are 35 million MOT tests conducted at 21,000 authorised premises across Great Britain every year. The cost to motorists of the test alone is around £1.5 billion.

The garage sector is regulated in several ways. The sector has to comply with business laws and consumer protection legislation. The MOT scheme is regulated by VOSA, an agency of the Department for Transport.

Self-regulation has an important role to play also. For example, over 6500 garages self-regulate their customer service through the Motor Codes Ltd Code on Service and Repair which has full approval status under the OFT Approved Codes System. And nearly 1000 garages have been accredited with the BSI Kitemark scheme for automotive services.

The VOSA compliance survey data and vehicle owners can also check their vehicles’ MOT status and history.

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Published 1 February 2012

Topics

News and communications

Transparency

  1. Active MOT test stations
  2. Commercial vehicle testing data for Great Britain
  3. MOT testing data for Great Britain