Press release

Government accepts proposals to improve garage standards

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

Motorists encouraged to check their garage is industry-standard approved.

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Motorists are being encouraged to find out if their garage is approved by a set of industry-standard codes to make sure they are getting value for money.

The call comes after the government accepted a number of proposals made by industry experts to help drive up standards.

The Motorists’ Forum has set out a raft of recommendations aimed at making sure motorists have the best possible consumer experience when having their vehicles serviced or repaired in a report released today (13 December 2012).

These will promote the wider adoption of self-regulation (OFT-TSI) codes of practice by garages and encourage greater publication of information regarding services they offer.

According to an AA survey, 78% of people always use the same garage meaning that only a minority of motorists shop around.

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said:

I welcome the work carried out by the Motorists’ Forum and believe the recommendations will help build on existing best practice in the industry without the burden of extra legislation.

It is important that consumers feel confident in the quality and the value for money of the services they are receiving from garages. The Forum’s report has offered some useful proposals for how this can be achieved more consistently.

I would urge motorists to find out if their local garage has been approved by the codes to ensure they are getting a fair service and value for money.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will now use their strong relationships with the industry and stakeholders to promote the adopted recommendations.

The UK car service and repair sector is worth around £6.9 billion per year to the GB economy with 150,000 MOT tests taking place every working day.

Note to editors:

The Motorists’ Forum report on garage customer experience can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The government’s response can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The Motorists’ Forum is made up of a group of experts convened by the DfT. Organisations include the AA, RAC, Association of Chief Police Officers, Centre for Automotive Management, compulsory basic training, Transport for London, Association Of British Insurers, Freight Transport Association, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders as well as representatives from the DfT and Highways Agency.

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) will be taking over responsibility for the consumer codes approval scheme from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The new scheme will maintain the rigour of the current scheme, but will streamline the approval process and make it self-funding.

Responsibility for vehicle roadworthiness and testing lies with DfT and VOSA administers the MOT scheme. Responsibility for consumer protection legislation lies with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

There is already considerable consumer protection legislation in place to cover the practices of garages which choose to trade unfairly or who are not competent to trade; both from the perspective of individual consumer rights through sale of goods and services legislation, and through the application of criminal sanctions, principally via the consumer protection from unfair trading regulations.

*AA survey outcome, car service/repair, May 2012

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Published 13 December 2012