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New law puts focus on Motor Codes to resolve motor retail consumer complaints

Motor Codes, the consumer arm of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), has been appointed one of the automotive sector’s first Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers.

Under new legislation introduced this week, the organisation will work with automotive companies to help improve consumer confidence by resolving any disputes swiftly and reducing the number of complaints that go to court.

ADR legislation requires UK businesses to direct dissatisfied customers to an approved mediator, which will work with both parties and recommend fair conclusions.

Motor Codes has managed disputes between motorists and automotive businesses since 2004 and has a proven track record of championing consumer rights. More than 99% of UK car manufacturers are signed up to its existing codes of conduct and the organisation currently serves consumers through a network of 7,500 garages across the UK.

Car purchases and service and repair costs are among UK consumers’ highest household bills, and while customer satisfaction in the automotive industry is high, this legislation offers an opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction further and resolve disputes more quickly.

Mark Terry, interim managing director of Motor Codes, said, “This legislation seeks to reduce the time it takes businesses to resolve customer complaints, to ensure less time is spent in the courts resolving disputes and to improve consumer confidence in the companies that serve them. This is a real opportunity for businesses to enhance customer satisfaction and trust in an already highly performing industry”.

Industry commentators are calling ADR the ‘quiet legislation’ because until recently little was known of the legal act, which potentially has far reaching implications for the UK automotive industry.

 It is overseen by the newly named, government-appointed Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). 

Busy year for consumer legislation

The legislation, which all businesses must comply with by 1 October 2015, tops a busy year in consumer legislation which has seen the UK's Consumer Rights Bill consolidate eight existing pieces of legislation, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. The law was given assent in March 2015 but will be implemented on 1 October 2015.

Terry said: “These recent milestones in consumer law will mark a new chapter in consumer satisfaction and ensure a more transparent marketplace. The new legislation will raise the benchmark in business practices, empowering the industry to generate trust so that consumers can make confident purchases.

“We know consumers will quickly become aware of their rights so if businesses embrace the changes and work with their chosen ADR provider, they will quickly become compliant with the law and on the journey to a more satisfied customer base.”

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