The Office of Fair Trading has granted Motor Codes full approval for its Service and Repair Code, meaning that subscribing garages can now display the OFT logo alongside the Motor Codes tick, to further reassure motorists.
Three years on from the inception of the Service and Repair Code, developed following the effectiveness of the OFT-approved New Car Code in reducing consumer complaints, this endorsement demonstrates continued confidence in the self-regulation consumer codes model.
Underlining the importance of this backing, Colin Brown, director of consumer policy at OFT, describes the move as, “one of the most important developments in consumer protection in car service and repair for many years.”
A sentiment echoed by Chris Mason, managing director at Motor Codes: “The Service and Repair Code was introduced at the request of Government to deal with its continued prominence in complaint statistics and set out to improve standards and raise consumer confidence.
“This announcement sends a clear message that we offer a comprehensively backed code of practice and our network of garages delivers real peace of mind for the consumer.”
Consumer feedback is central to the Motor Codes operation and each customer is encouraged to rate the quality of service received – visible online to potential garage customers.
This open, customer-facing review system was a key factor in fulfilling OFT requirements.
“Motor Codes has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and scrutiny amongst its members, making it simpler for motorists to make an informed choice”, said Brown.
To date, in excess of 25,000 motorists have submitted reviews, all visible on the Motor Codes website.
Standards for Motor Codes garages are upheld through a combination of RAC compliance audits and the support of a structured advice and conciliation service, with a team of independent customer service professionals on hand to offer advice both to motorists and garages.
Where things do go wrong, a three stage intermediary process, consisting of fast track resolution, conciliation and legally biding arbitration, is implemented to administer a fair solution for all parties.
Of all conciliation cases to date in 2011, more than 30% have been resolved as fast track – meaning that solutions are brokered swiftly, while a customer’s car is still in the garage.