Why a code was needed

23 May 2008 16:32 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

The announcement that the motor industry is finally ready to sort out servicing and repairs is welcome news, but why has it taken so long to get there?

The story of poor standards in the UK's garage industry reads like a low-rent soap opera. A series of mystery shops in 2002 exposed the incredibly low standards of the trade, with an estimated 51% failing customers.

Since then, the trade has failed to set its house in order and produce a code to protect consumers.

Things reached a head when the SMMT, RMFI and the OFT disagreed about the content and structure of a code and abandoned talks.

The National Consumer Council (NCC) joined the fight by stating it would lodge a 'super-complaint' with the OFT if things failed to improve.

It's been estimated that UK motorists waste over 4m every year by sorting shoddy repairs and servicing.

There was even a BSI Kitemark scheme established to encourage a higher standard of customer care. However, after three years, only a handful of garages joined.

The only light at the end of the tunnel came last year, when the Bosch Car Service Centre scheme for independent garages achieved Stage Two certification, a first for the industry.

Despite this being good news, it was only a tiny number - roughly 300 garages among the UK's total of over 24,000 workshops.

However, after three years of work the SMMT and the RMIF are now happy that this code that can help both consumers and garages.