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Bosch approved by OFT

Bosch’s Car Service (BCS) code of practice has completed Stage One of the Office of Fair Trading Consumer Codes Approval Scheme.

The scheme aims to promote and safeguard consumer interests, guaranteeing service and customer care at a fair price.

However, the RMIF has renewed calls for the OFT to focus on developing a single industry code of practice. “The introduction of another code may serve to further confuse an already confused consumer,” says Matthew Carrington, RMIF chief executive.

Howard Price, technical service manager says: “The discipline and aims of the CCAS to produce a benchmark for quality and service is entirely consistent with our objectives for the BCS network.”

By completing the initial stage, the BCS code of practice has met the OFT’s core criteria in principle. That includes a promise to provide clear, pre-contractual information and a written estimate including the cost of parts and labour, cancellation rights exceeding those available in law, guarantees on the work carried out (parts and labour) and protection of any prepayments if a BCS member ceases to trade.

In addition, BCS members are required not to recommend or carry out work that is unnecessary, provide independent arbitration, complete regular mystery shops to test the technical and customer handling skills of the BCS network and carry out annual audits to ensure the code is adhered to.

The final requirement it must fulfil is the adoption of an independent disciplinary review panel to ensure that disciplinary procedures deal effectively with instances of non-compliance.

BCS will now be invited to provide the OFT with evidence that the processes are working in practice to achieve OFT Stage Two approval. Only codes that demonstrate that they are effective in promoting consumer interests will be approved and be entitled to display the OFT-approved code logo and official promotion. Bosch hopes to complete the process by the end of the year.

Schemes by the VBRA and SMMT have both achieved full Stage Two approval, while the MVRA is at the same stage as Bosch, with Stage One. Failure to achieve this first stage clearance led to the demise of the RMIF CarWise scheme.

Colin Brown, director, market transformation at the OFT says: “I warmly welcome the work done by Bosch Car Service and its members in developing this code of practice. It will help ensure higher standards in the areas of customer care and technical capability. We look forward to working with them as they progress through the next stage.”

BCS has 300 members.

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