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Single code of practice back on track

The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), sister association the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have now agreed to move ahead with a jointly developed code of practice for service and repair.

The breakthrough came after urgent talks between the three groups and just weeks to go until the deadline for submitting a code for stage one Office of Fair Trading (OFT) approval expires.

Last month, Matthew Carrington, RMIF chief executive told AM-online that the SMMT was trying to push through a code without keeping major stakeholders informed. The SMMT has denied this, saying it was appointed as the secretariat by the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure a code was in place to ward off a threatened National Consumer Council super-complaint.

“It is vitally important to present a united front on this issue,” says Carrington. “Consumers see us as one industry and we must therefore act as one industry.

“Make no mistake, the threat of the super complaint will become reality if we do not meet the September 2007 deadline of putting in place a fully representative and functioning code of practice.”

The final September 2007 deadline for achieving full OFT code approval means that first draft must be submitted and approved by September 2006.

‘It is a very tight timeframe but we are on track. However, all parties must understand that there can be no more hidden agendas, no more back door tactics. This is our last opportunity to get this right. The consumer lobby will not be giving us a second chance," adds Carrington.

What is a super-complaint?

  • Section 11 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (EA 2002) enables consumer bodies designated by the secretary of state to submit ‘super-complaints’ to the OFT where they consider that there is any market feature, or combination of features, such as the structure of a market or the conduct of those operating within it, that is or appears to be significantly harming the interests of consumers.
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