On the back of Halfords being found guilty of not properly carrying out checks on a car that was placed in to their care by the Trading Standards, it seems as though other Trading Standards groups around the country are containing the fight against garages that provide a poor standard of service. Warwickshire Trading Standards is the latest Trading Standards to issue a report citing a poor level of service from a number of main dealers and independent garages in the Stratford-Upon-Avon area. Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards has refused the specifically name any of the garages uncovered during their investigation but it hasn’t yet ruled out any court proceedings against any of these garages.
The tests involved garages with known faults being taken to garages and even though some of the garages charged between £200 and £400 service fees, many of the faults were missed or not reported. This has raised concerns about the safety of vehicles in the local area as some of the cars that were utilised had serious flaws and issues including flat and deformed tyres, brake discs that were excessively corroded and brake and oil fluid leaks.
Car garages are under fire at the moment
The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety in Warwickshire County Council, Councillor John Horner, said; “We have found cars for sale that were clearly un-roadworthy and in some cases dangerous to drive. Furthermore, Warwickshire car owners could well be paying hundreds of pounds for servicing that has not been carried out properly. For many of us, buying a car is one of the most expensive purchases we will ever make.
Warwickshire Trading Standards receives more complaints about used cars than any other consumer product. We use complaints from members of the public to target our enforcement action, this involves checking cars on garage forecourts and using our own ‘mystery shoppers’ to purchase budget used cars or to submit cars for servicing.”
A total of ten cars had been purchased by Trading Standards to carry out these tests with the fleet containing a Ford Ka, which was bought for £800 and a LandRover Freelander, purchased at a cost of £1,500.
Trading Standards released a statement, saying; “We’re not in a position to name these businesses at this present time. However, further investigations are now being undertaken and all court related enforcement action will be publicised.”
Steve Nash is the CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry, the IMI, and he said; “At the IMI stories like this one give us sleepless nights. It’s a major concern to our members, as they know it makes it harder for consumers to make sensible choices about the garages they use. As the professional body for the motor industry, IMI assesses the skills and qualifications of automotive technicians through IMI Accreditation and we publish a list of qualified and trustworthy mechanics on our Professional Register, www.imiregiter.org.uk, It’s free to use and no money changes hands between us and the professionals on the list. The retail motor sector is not regulated at the moment and anyone can set themselves up to repair and service cars commercially. IMI is calling on the Government to introduce a licensing scheme for mechanics to protect consumers from poor service and sharp practice.”