The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has started out on the road to gain Government-approval for its Trust My Garage (TMG) voluntary code of conduct.
The IGA’s move comes as oversight for approved codes transfers from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).
The Motor Code for Service and Repair (MCSR) is an inaugural member of the new TSI-governed programme as it had already won full approval under OFT auspices. Other launch members include the Bosch Car Service Network and the Vehicle Builder and Repairers Association.
With its submission of interest approved by the TSI, the IGA scheme now needs to demonstrate member support and compliance of the code to get full stage-two approval.
This should be achieved by the first quarter of 2014 according to IGA Director Stuart James who said: “Recently there has been criticism surrounding independent garage businesses which in many cases the IGA believes to be unsubstantiated and unjustified.
“With the independent sector being so huge, the IGA believes that it is right to stand up for all the good independent garages.
“However, we accept there are a small number of garage businesses in the independent sector that cause consumer concerns. A Trust My Garage Code will work with Trading Standards and other consumer bodies to address these concerns and offer assurance to consumers by driving out the cowboys.”
Once approved the IGA says TMG will be unique in being the sole code only open to independent garages. The MCSR is also available to franchises which, while they currently make up the majority of the membership, should eventually reach a 50:50 balance as independent membership grows.
Forte’s Good Garage Scheme continues to win consumer recognition with high-profile television advertising, while Groupauto MCSR-backed Approved Garages Network has grown from 300 sites at launch in April to nearly 400 mid-June.
Consumer polls shows there is a high level of confusion surrounding multiple motor industry codes. Motorists continue to distrust the industry, even saying they have no faith in the MOT symbol, while the Citizens Advice Bureau says garages are still one of the most common calls of complaint to its hotline.
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation cast doubt on these figures, saying they may mask other problems and could paint an inaccurate picture of true levels of consumer satisfaction with workshops.