New service code protects motorists

Efforts to safeguard motorists and protect anyone buying a car have taken a step forward with the partial ratification of a new industry code of conduct.

The Motor Industry Service and Repair Code has now completed the first stage of the OFT's code-approval process with the backing of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

The two organisations set up Motor Codes to run the new guidelines on behalf of the industry. That stand-alone company has now satisfied the OFT that the new code promotes and safeguards consumer interests beyond the minimum requirements of consumer law.

Motor Codes will now carry out comprehensive monitoring procedures - including visits to garages and customer satisfaction surveys - to demonstrate that the Code is working effectively. Only codes that demonstrate this achieve OFT stage two and are entitled to display the `approved code` logo.

Last year, problems with car servicing and repairs accounted for more than 23,000 complaints to Consumer Direct.

Charles Wallace, OFT Head of Consumer Codes, said: "By using a garage that has an approved code, customers can be assured that they will receive a much higher standard of protection than required by law."

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