In Warwickshire, Trading Standards Officers targeted seven garages and five were rated below average or poor.
However, it must be borne in mind that the targets were garages about which they had already received complaints.
Not therefore a random sample. The particular problems highlighted, which would give rise to offences under the Trade Descriptions Act and Road Traffic Act included charging for a fuel filter, which had not been replaced, charging for brake cleaner not used (the vehicles had not even had the wheels removed!). Additionally a leaking wheel cylinder, badly worn front brake discs and low tyre pressures were not attended to in a service, which cost almost £450!
In the London Borough of Newham five out of five targeted garages failed to rectify various items, which had been rendered defective before submitting the cars for the service.
The cases highlight various important issues for garage clients:
Trading Standards Officers will continue submitting cars as test purchases and the garage owner as well as the technician run the risk of prosecution if the job is not done to a greater or lesser extent or items are left making the vehicle unroadworthy.
At the point where the garage owner is leaving his / her work to another employee there is a risk of loss of control.
A quality control (QC) check becomes a necessity to control the risk of the garage owner being prosecuted. Remember in the case of most trading standards offences a fully functioning QC check will be a main part of the garage owners defence if a problem arises. Without the QC check the offence cannot be defended, but with a QC check, even if the lapse has been completely unintentional you will have an opportunity to ‘get off the hook’, and avoid a fine and bad publicity.
A stitch in time...
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