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Customer code launched with OFT backing

The motor industry has launched an Office of Fair Trading-backed scheme designed to ensure the customers can 'buy with confidence'.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’s motor industry code was the first to receive full approval from the OFT in September. Companies signed up to the code can display the OFT-approved logo.

Commenting on today's launch SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: "We are fiercely proud to have been the first industry to gain full approval for our Code of practice. So we are delighted that the OFT have chosen the motor industry to raise awareness of their wider codes of practice campaign. Car makers have demonstrated that there is a genuine will to improve customer care and we hope our lead is followed by others."

Adherence to the SMMT code involves car manufacturers in the regular monitoring of conduct and financial penalties for those who fail to deliver. The new code makes a set of promises including the delivery of high quality products, offering watertight warranties, and provisions relating to the availability of replacement parts, advertising and complaints handling.

The code will be distributed to more than a million new car buyers in its first year of operation. In addition, consumers will be made aware of protection offered by the new code through an advertising campaign.

All volume car makers are signed up to the code, as are the vast majority of smaller manufacturers. In total, 99.7 per cent of the 2.5 million new car market will be underpinned by the code's provisions.

The SMMT New Car Code of Practice and guide can be viewed at www.smmt.co.uk/newcarcode

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