Is it a code with bite?

* How it works * Garages must meet standards * Customers can complain...

29 August 2008

Is it a code with bite?

The code will maintain high standards through a points system.

Garages will be inspected on a regular basis and any that arent up to scratch, or fail to follow the conciliation timescales after a complaint, will get penalty points.

Customers will also be encouraged to fill in feedback surveys, which will be available at all of the member workshops.

Two warning letters will be sent to garages that get too many points, followed by a consumer warning against the workshops listing on the website for all to see.

If a garage still doesnt pull its socks up, its in danger of being thrown off the scheme and referred straight to the Office of Fair Trading.

Yet is this enough?

We asked the National Consumer Council (NCC), which has been breathing down the neck of the industry for years.

It currently has the threat of a super-complaint over the industry if things dont improve drastically. Under this, it has the power to impose licensing on the whole garage industry, so garages would need a licence to operate.

Steve Brooker of the NCC is very positive about the new drive to improve standards: Were very happy, but I wish things could have happened sooner. Were particularly pleased that the RMIF and the SMMT are now sat at the same table, with the same message about a common goal.

Its a decent start, but its important that we get a good geographical spread, and range of manufacturers.