UK breakdown coverGet a quote
– buy online
Arrange cover over the phone
Call us on 0800 085 2721
We can help – call us now
0800 88 77 66
The code is now run by Motor Codes Limited, a subsidiary of the SMMT and achieved full OFT approval in November 2011
If you need to get some work done on your car you want to be sure that the garage you choose is reliable and will provide an honest and fair service without overcharging you or doing work that wasn't required.
Parts of the motor trade have a poor reputation – some justified, but media coverage of 'rip-off garages' and a general lack of trust between garages and customers helps to perpetuate problems.
The 'Motor Industry Code of Practice' - developed by the industry itself - was launched in 2008 to improve the general image of the trade by encouraging garages to raise their standards and rebuild customer confidence.
The initial code followed a damning report by the National Consumer Council claiming that 'shoddy repair work was costing the consumer £4billion a year' and calling for the industry to obtain full Office of Fair Trading (OFT) approval or be subject to legislation.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) worked with the Retail Motor Industry Federation, Office of Fair Trading, vehicle manufacturers and some car dealer groups to develop and set up the code of practice.
The code is now run by Motor Codes Limited, a subsidiary of the SMMT and achieved full OFT approval in November 2011.
This new scheme is designed to help you identify garages which will deal with your car properly and provide a good service. It covers all aspects of garage work from advertising, booking in work, undertaking repairs, staff, invoicing and resolving complaints.
Any garage that carries out car (or light commercial vehicle) servicing or repair can sign up to the code for a small annual subscription fee.
Garages have to undergo (and pay for) regular compliance checks to make sure they continue to meet the standards required.
Look for the logo next time you visit a garage.
You can give feedback about the service they you have received through a new on-line consumer survey.
The results help Motorcodes build a robust picture about the real-life situation in the garage sector and will ultimately enable the trade to deliver peace of mind through improved business practices.
If you have a dispute with a garage you should initially speak to the garage's dedicated customer service representative – the code requires that they have one.
If it all goes wrong and you can't resolve any dispute with the garage direct then a free consumer advice line is available.
Free consumer advice line. Tel.0800 692 0825
There is a free conciliation service but if that doesn't resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the consumer then subscribing garages agree to independent arbitration if the consumer wishes.
Both parties will be required to sign an application for arbitration and pay the registration fee – currently £500 per case split equally between the customer and the garage.
The arbitration process is expected to be much more straightforward than having to take court action and its decisions are legally binding.
(22 June 2012)