“We have met all OFT requirements for the scheme, but it has constantly changed its requirements and acted in a way that has caused us to conclude, reluctantly, that is either unable or unwilling to grant us the full approval,” says RMI chief executive Matthew Carrington. The move has cost the RMI around £500,000.
The CarWise Code, backed by the Department of Trade and Industry, was to be a code of practice for the retail motor sector, governing car sales, servicing and repair, including bodyshops. But after six months of wrangles with the OFT, the RMI has decided to ditch the scheme.
“We’re in a no-win situation. Until such time as the OFT comes to a clear and consistent understanding of what they require from code sponsors to grant approval, there is little point in the RMI and SMTA putting further resources into this application,” says Carrington.
Instead, the RMI and SMTA have decided to develop an alternative scheme based on its existing Code with similar aims of raising industry standards. “This will demonstrate to Government that the industry can self-regulate without the need for any intervention. The scheme will again have the existing code of practice at its heart,” adds Carrington.
The Consumers’ Association, meanwhile, has renewed calls for a Government-legislated industry licencing scheme for repairers.