By Marcus Leach

The Motor Industry Service and Repair Code has received Office of Fair Trading (OFT) approval for its code of practice under the OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS).

The code of practice is run by Motor Codes and has 6,500 franchised dealers and independent garages as members.

The OFT only approves codes that have proved effective in safeguarding and promoting consumers' interests, going further than the basic requirements of the law. Key features and benefits of the Motor Industry Service and Repair Code are:

- comprehensive monitoring of member garages, including inspection visits by independent RAC engineers
- quotes or estimates for work include a written breakdown of costs, detailing the charges for labour and parts
- where further work is required, the member garage must get customer permission before proceeding with this
- member garages do not take upfront deposits
- independent disciplinary procedures are in place, with a range of sanctions including warnings and termination of membership, to deal with garages that breach the Code
- a low-cost independent redress scheme is available to customers
- all customers can give online feedback about the garage on the Motor Codes website

"Getting your car repaired and serviced can be a daunting experience," Colin Brown, Director in the OFT's Goods and Consumer Group, said.

"Today's announcement is good news for drivers, who can be confident that where they see an OFT approved code logo they will receive a high standard of service and will be treated fairly if problems arise. I congratulate Motor Codes on its work in driving up standards for consumers in the car repair and servicing sector."

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