I heard on the radio this am that Consumer Direct is back campaigning for regulation in the UK garage services industry.
It would appear that the latest car ‘service and repair’ code has yet to hit the spot for independent garages. Out of an impressive c5000 subscribers since last August, some 4000 are thought to be franchised dealerships who were always to be the financial backbone of the scheme and were told to sign up by their manufacturer bosses – Ford, Mazda and Peugeot among others.
This imbalance is important because motorists need choices to suit their car, their motoring budget and where they live… and franchised dealerships are usually a good bit more expensive than independents.
Taken to its conclusion if the new Motor Code were to start to promote itself in a big way to consumers (which they certainly have the money to do) they could, in effect, create more complaints than ever because motorists will be paying higher rates to franchised dealers in areas where there is no choice of an independent garage. I’d complain if I felt I habe been encouraged to pay over the odds, unnecessarily.
However FOXY doesn’t take sides in this debate because it knows only too well that women drivers come in all shapes and sizes and usually know very well what they want…
But women who want low cost motoring bills to keep a cherished older family car (not a banger…) on the road want low cost garage bills otherwise they mightn’t bother getting their car serviced regularly.
Tell them that they need a Motor Code dealership to repair their car and they might think that they are to expect to pay extra for quality.
Whereas the real foxy choice, clearly available to all motorists, should be to identify one of the best local garages or dealerships in their area, based on measurable qualifications, an investment in quality and a commitment to customer service to suit their needs.
I agree with Consumer Direct that the motorist continues to fail to find her and his best local choices to date. It’s interesting that this organisation is a part of the Government’s BERR department and sits alongside the OFT which is supporting the industry’s Motor Code intentions (for automotive services and repairs).
I also suspect that few earlybird subscribers (such as car dealerships that well exceed the minimum motor code industry standards of honest and fair services, open and transparent pricing and work to be completed as agreed) spotted that they are to pay a hefty fee £’00s every two years or so to be inspected.
Assuming that the complaints Consumer Direct pick up on are similar to the ones members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club tell us of, these will be about shoddy workmanship, overcharging and patronising customer service.Hence my belief that the female friendly FOXY Promise is a better benchmark of standards and that the garage services industry is long overdue a female friendly image makeover.
Needless to say, it’ll be a real shame for the consumer if industry prices (already much higher than in France, for example) need to rise because of regulation fees, but this may be what is needed for UK motorists to get a fair deal and for older cars to be safer on our roads in future. And for the industry to identify and promote higher standards in future.
Bring it on guys.
“Four words sum up what lifted successful individuals above the crowd – a little bit more. They did what was expected, and a little bit more.”
A. Lou Vickery.