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AM-online poll: Will a code of practice improve public perception of the used car sector?

Opinion is divided on whether a used car sales code of practice would improve public perception of the sector, according to an poll.

Motor Codes launched a consultation asking for dealer opinion on the idea of the used car sales code, which it intends to launch in mid-2012, and it’s still possible to send views to

Director Chris Mason said: “Once established, the code will positively improve the perception of the sector. It will visibly differentiate good from bad, enabling consumers to make their choice on who to do business with on an informed basis.”

Views from the industry on the AM poll:

  • “It’ll be like any code of practice – franchised dealers will be subscribed against their will, good independents already have a reputation to protect so won’t see a benefit and the bottom end of the market will neither participate nor care.”
  • “The reputation of used car dealers and salesman is too entrenched (and rightly so) for it to be improved. Codes of practice are just like marriage certificates, just pompous words on a piece of paper.”
  • “Transparency is the key here. As long as potential customers can base their expectations on an accepted standard they will rarely be disappointed, but all the time they base it on their own perception there comes the risk of unhappy customers.”
  • “For any sales code to drive public perception it needs to be from an organisation that consumers recognise and trust.”
  • “We are starting to get coded out and I am not certain to date that our customers understand what half of the codes actually mean to them. What we need to concentrate on is simply delivering the best possible service to our customers and then they will keep coming back. Where this may help a dealer is if they are a stand-alone used car operation. If, however, you are a franchised dealer with high levels of repeat business already then I’m not sure this will be for you.”
  • “Consumers worry that codes aren’t monitored or enforced. What would change perceptions would be dealers displaying independently collected reviews from their customers.”
  • “Yet another code of practice where the bad guys don’t join.”
  • “It will take more than this. There are still too many hard-selling people in the industry who are put under pressure by unrealistic sales targets.”
  • “I think more people need to be made aware of the company behind the code before they will have confidence and faith that it is run in the interests of best practice.”
  • “Most retailers are fair and honest but customers still want the reassurance that they are protected should something go wrong. A code of practice lets good retailers set themselves apart by making that public commitment.”
  • “The used car market is blighted by horror stories from customers that have been mistreated or have bought a vehicle riddled with issues. A code of practice would deliver the peace of mind motorists are after forcing those operating below the standard to raise their game.”
  • “Sad to see such negativity in the industry. But I’d like to see a used car code to be more demanding than its sister service and repair code. Let’s make it much harder for the cowboys to join in.”
  • “There should be a used car dealer licensing system which disbars anyone found clocking or deliberately going insolvent.”
  • “This is just another wrapper for what already exists with most franchised dealers and RMI members. The majority of the general public are unaware of Motor Codes’ existence.”

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