Gearing up for garage reform

14 July 2009 #SMMT News




Thousands of car owners across Britain believe they have been ripped off when getting their car serviced or MOT’d in the last five years, according to new research released today. The study commissioned by Motor Codes Ltd, the motor industry’s self-regulatory body, reveals that:


  • Over a third of motorists have been dissatisfied with their garage experience
  • One in five car owners have been charged more than the garage’s quote
  • 12% of motorists think they’ve been overcharged by a garage
  • 70% of people don’t know who to speak to if an issue arises with a garage
  • 94% of car owners want a recognised garage code with minimum standards


According to Consumer Focus, this overpricing and inconsistent repair work is believed to cost Britain’s motorists £4 billion a year. Despite this, if motorists had a problem with a garage or repair centre, over two-thirds of them admit they would not know where to go in order to get the issue resolved.


Now motorists have a freephone advice line and a central point of contact for all their motoring issues at Whether you’re buying a new car or warranty product or getting your existing car serviced or repaired, Motor Codes Ltd has developed a code of practice to protect the motorist.


“Although the survey findings are surprising, they do show that motorists are still unsure of where to go to for advice. Motor Codes aims to fix this and with a single website and freephone number now available, motorists can be confident that they’re getting the right advice from industry experts,” said Motor Codes director, Chris Mason. “Motor Codes is working to build and maintain standards in the motor industry so motorists should look for the logo when booking their car in and ask if the garage subscribes to the right code. It’s the safest way to guarantee good work at an honest price.”


For more information on Motor Codes Ltd or the Motor Industry Codes of Practice for Service and Repair, New Cars or Vehicle Warranty Products, visit




The car maintainance survey was conducted by Marketiers4DC on behalf of Motor Codes Ltd between 22 May and 1 June 2009 and consulted 1,425 UK car owners.


Motor Industry Code of Practice for New Cars

Covering sales practices, warranties, availability of replacement parts, advertising and complaints handling, the Motor Industry Code of Practice for New Cars gives reassurance to motorists when they’re making what is likely to be one of their biggest lifetime purchases. With all mass volume vehicle manufacturers on the UK market subscribing to the Code, its terms apply to over 99% of all cars sold each year and commits subscribers to:

  • honest and fair promotion
  • cars manufactured to high quality standards
  • peace of mind warranty cover
  • warranties written in clear English
  • spare parts availability
  • competent and conscientious staff


Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair

Responding to consumer concerns over pricing, quality of work and customer service, the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair commits around 5,000 subscribing garages to:

  • honest and fair services
  • open and transparent pricing
  • completing work as agreed
  • invoices that match quoted prices
  • competent and conscientious staff
  • a straightforward, swift complaint procedure

And offers motorists:

  • an online search facility allowing consumers to locate their nearest subscribing garage
  • a free consumer advice line 0800 692 0825
  • free conciliation and low cost, legally binding arbitration


Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products

The Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products commits subscribers to:

  • peace of mind cover
  • products written in clear English
  • no high pressure selling
  • providing written summaries of the key contract terms
  • simple, straightforward claims procedures

The Code covers the following products:

  • mechanical breakdown insurance
  • guarantees and extended warranties
  • roadside assistance
  • MOT insurance
  • tyre insurance


Motorists can call the freephone consumer advice line on 0800 692 0825 for information or advice about any of these Codes, or visit the website at


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