The Motor Industry Code of Practice scheme is now up and running.
It allows consumers to identify subscribing businesses which will safeguard their interests – helping address complaints which costs them £4bn a year.
The scheme, which has both gained the support of major manufacturers and successfully completed the OFT’s Code approval process, is promoted through Motor Codes Ltd. This is a stand-alone body created by the industry to set up and run the code.
Briefly, those signing up to it will provide a full breakdown of costs in writing for any work, phone the customer before carrying out additional work, won’t take upfront deposits, and agree to be fully monitored, including through visits by independent RAC technicians.
Disciplinary procedures are in place for members who do not comply, and low-cost redress is open to customers who choose, and are dissatisfied with, Code-approved dealers.
Charles Wallace, OFT head of consumer codes, 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.’
Motor Codes director, Chris Mason, added: ‘This is one of the most important pieces of consumer protection in the last 30 years.’
Customers will be able to search online for their nearest subscribing garage, access a free advice line, and source free consultation or low-cost, legally-binding arbitration, at www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk.