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Sat, 30 May 2009
Independent garages are being urged to show their commitment to a fair deal for consumers by subscribing to a code of practice on service and repair.

Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas has issued an open letter to the independent garage sector calling on them to subscribe to the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair, which helps consumers to identify garages which are responsible and reliable businesses.

The new Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair was launched by Motor Codes Limited to consumers in August 2008.

The code means that consumers can have confidence that participating garages adhere to high standards and will do their best to resolve complaints to customers’ satisfaction if things go wrong.

Gareth Thomas, Consumer Affairs Minister, said:

"The code has got off to an encouraging start with some 5,000 businesses already committed to participate. A successful code is good news for consumers and business. It means garages show a clear intent to operate an open and honest business which attracts customers.

"It’s particularly important during the economic downturn that consumers are reassured they’re getting a good deal."

Chris Mason, Director of Motor Codes, said:

"The more businesses that demonstrate their commitment to this important piece of consumer protection, the greater the confidence that motorists can have in the service and repair sector."

A code subscriber commits to:
•honest and fair services;
•open and transparent pricing;
•complete work as agreed;
•invoices that match quoted prices;
•competent and conscientious staff;
•a straightforward, swift complaints procedure.

The code itself allows consumers access to:
•a free consumer advice line (0800 692 0825);
•free conciliation and low cost, legally binding arbitration;
•more rights than required by law.

The Minister is calling for further commitment from the independent, non-franchised sector which stands to benefit by being known as responsible operators. The code is also an aid to competition because it places both large and small operators on a level playing field.

The code is currently working towards full OFT approval. To achieve this it will have to demonstrate that it is working effectively to protect consumers and that enough businesses are participating.

Notes to editors:
1.For further information the full open letter from Gareth Thomas Consumer Affairs Minister can be found on the BERR website here:
2.The new Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair was launched by Motor Codes Limited to consumers in August 2008 at the Office of Fair Trading in London.
3.Any UK garage can sign up to the voluntary code, which is currently progressing through the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS). To comply with the code, a business will need to commit to meet the requirements for completing service and repair work whilst engaging with their customers.
4.The code aims to promote and safeguard the interests of consumers by helping them identify subscribing garages, and providing an easily accessible and robust dispute resolution mechanism when required.
5.For further information please see the Motor Codes Limited website:


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