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Garages And Car Dealers

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to introduce a system of licensing for independent motor vehicle garages and franchised motor dealers; and if she will make a statement. [112929]

I have no plans at present to introduce a system of licensing for garages or motor dealers. I support the initiative announced on 15 May for trade associations in the sector to seek Office of Fair Trading approval for a new code of practice to enable consumers to identify garages committed to delivering good customer service.The new code will implement a set of minimum standards of customer service through a process of audit checks and other compliance measures, including mystery shopping. Consumers will have a mechanism for having complaints dealt with and have access to independent arbitration where a matter cannot be resolved with the garage, Participation in the Code will be open to businesses that are not members of trade associations.At the core of the new code is an independent advisory group, including representatives from trading standards and the National Consumer Council, which will help design and approve a strong compliance system to ensure that participating garages meet the Code standards.