Two car repairers have been expelled from the Motor Vehicle Repairers Association for "fraudulent practices."
These included charging for parts not fitted, pre-invoicing and forging customer satisfaction notes.
"Fraud is always a serious affair and we can not tolerate it within our membership," said Mike Eagle, MVRA operations manager.
Mr Eagle would not reveal who the companies were, or how they were identified, although the MVRA often investigates customer complaints against its members. The 200-strong trade body embraces both mechanical repairers and bodyshops, with two levels of membership and audit. Eagle said that it was unusual to expel two members for breaching the MVRA's code of practice so blatantly in one month.
MVRA managing director Mike Monaghan expresses sympathy for the "panicking and struggling" individuals involved. "I'm absolutely certain that the examples of fraud we've seen are symptomatic of current market conditions," he said.
"Many of our members are feeling the pressures of survival and repairers are beginning to look at anything that might improve profitability."
Hinting that these cases may be the tip of the iceberg, Mr Eagle said: "People in desperate situations will resort to desperate measures." He described pre-invoicing as "a grey area" which may be seen as an acceptable practice by some repairers. (August 14, 2001)