OFT praises commitment and progress on Service and Repair Code

29 September 2006 #SMMT News

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today praised SMMT’s leadership of a cross-industry group, and the industry’s commitment to prepare a service and repair code for the sector. The comments were made as the National Consumer Council (NCC) confirmed it would not submit its scheduled super-complaint, following substantial progress by the industry. According to the consumer body, the industry has ‘resolved the tricky issues and it’s now a matter of finishing the job quickly’.

‘This is positive news’, commented SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan. ‘However, this is also a call to arms for the industry. We must be prepared to continue to work hard together for consumers to deliver a robust Code.’

The NCC had originally timetabled a super-complaint announcement for 30 September. However, it said today it would hold off action, pending further progress towards stage one approval from the Office of Fair Trading for the new Code. A draft of the Code was submitted to the OFT in February this year.

‘We understand why the NCC set a deadline’, added Christopher Macgowan. ‘However, it is important that we also appreciate the work that OFT must do to ensure any Code is robust; we will continue to work closely with the OFT through the Sherpa group to ensure any outstanding concerns are dealt with quickly and to report progress to the NCC.’

The Sherpa Code Working Group1 was set up under the direction of DTI to drive a Service and Repair Code, developed by key stakeholders in the industry. It meets regularly and includes representatives of trade associations like the RMIF, SMMT, IMI, as well as franchised and independent motor traders. Its work has persuaded the NCC that a super-complaint would be counter-productive at this time.

SMMT also looks forward to regular monthly meetings with DTI, OFT and NCC. SMMT worked with the OFT to deliver the first Code of Practice to win stage two approval under tough new Codes criteria in September 2004, with its New Car Code of Practice. Now, this experience – and strong relationship with the approval team at OFT – will ensure outstanding areas of concern are dealt with quickly and in a spirit of co-operation.


1. The ‘Sherpa Code Working Group’ was established at the request of the DTI Retail Motor Strategy Group to develop a consumer code of practice for the automotive retail sector. One of three ‘Sherpa’ groups – the other two are charged with looking into skills and block exemption – the Sherpa Code Working Group has cross industry representation, including manufacturers, franchise and independent retailers and relevant trade associations.

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