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Good Garage Scheme

Friday, 29 August 2008

'last chance' to give motorists effective consumer

The IAM has thrown its support behind a 'good garage scheme', the latest in a long line of industry initiatives to protect the consumer from rip-off garages. But it has warned that this must be the garage trade's final chance to get its act together.

For many years, consumer organisations and government reports have highlighted garages that prey on motorists' limited mechanical knowledge and inadequate consumer protection laws that cost motorists millions of pounds a year.

Previous voluntary schemes from the industry and ratings from motoring organisations, have failed to protect the consumer from determined rogue traders. While many in the garage trade work hard to improve quality and image, there remains a substantial minority that continues to get away with shoddy work, overcharging and plain incompetence.

The IAM has criticised previous schemes because they have lacked the solid backing of the motor trade, the "teeth" to make sure consumers get a good deal, and a guarantee of easy redress.

The Motor Industry Service and Repair Code of Practice is the first scheme to contain robust measures for quality control and enforcement of new industry standards. In a crucial difference to previous schemes, an independent panel will regularly review the results of the new scheme to
ensure standards are improving.

Tim Shallcross, IAM Head of Technical Policy and Advice said: "The IAM will sit on the independent assessment panel and we will be working at the heart of the scheme to protect consumer's interests and make sure it genuinely delivers the quality, honesty and value that motorists deserve. But, if the motor trade fails to deliver on its promises, the government must fast-track legislation to enforce statutory measures to solve the problems, once and for all."