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Federation ‘causing confusion’ with quality control scheme

The Retail Motor Industry Federation has been accused of confusing bodyshops with the introduction of its own cut price repair standard.

The RMIF’s revised self assessment Quality Control (QC) scheme has been brought closer to matching the British Standards Institute’s (BSI) PAS 125 Kitemark but has been designed to act as a cheaper ‘stepping stone’.

Bodyshops have said an additional repair scheme detracts from the idea of uniting for a single industry wide standard repair scheme.

However the RMIF has said the QC has been designed to back accreditation for the Kitemark.

Mike Owen, head of the RMIF’s bodyshop services division, said: “PAS 125 has been slow to take off. The technical specification is highly detailed and bodyshops must make considerable investment in time and money. Many have been reluctant to commit themselves to a scheme that has yet to prove itself.”

Owen said the RMIF was responding to the lull in applications by reviewing the QC scheme to help bodyshops demonstrate their commitment to best practice and to help them prepare for the rigours of the Kitemark at a later date.

BSI had hoped for at least 300 bodyshops to pass the Kitemark standard by the end of this year, but just 14 have gained the Kitemark scheme since it launched nine months ago. The initial Kitemark fee is £2,450 followed by an annual subscription fee of £2,500.

Although Allianz Insurance has not made the RMIF’s QC mandatory, 185 of its network repairers have already adopted the scheme.

The RMIF was asked if the QC could be seen as confusing to the bodyshop industry but did not respond before AM went to press.

One bodyshop owner said: “I can’t see why the RMIF bodyshop division continues to attempt to trade off the back of a quality standard. I also fail to see in today’s market why they want to offer one.

“The RMIF says the QC is corresponded with the PAS 125, but then says it’s administered by a self assessment form. I’m sorry but this makes no sense and the two do not marry.”

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