Thank goodness for that I say because the Government tells us that in 2010-11 44% of vehicles failed their MOT test initially and 28% of vehicles had one or more car defects that were either missed by MOT test centres or incorrectly assessed.
This matters massively because the MOT is supposed to be a safety snapshot on the day and often it’s the only one older cars get each year.
VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) data also showed that the roadworthiness of one-in-eight cars (12.4%) was being incorrectly assessed by MOT test centres.
Minister for Transport, Justine Greening said:
“Our garages are crucial to ensuring that Britain’s roads continue to be among the safest in the world. Most are doing good work but the latest data shows that there is room for improvement.”
“I want each motorist to be confident that a visit to the garage ends with their car repaired to a high standard by reputable mechanics rather than uncertainty about cost and the quality of service.”
“Giving drivers the very best information about garage performance is absolutely key to achieving this goal. It means that responsible garages will be well placed to reap the commercial benefits of transparency. Garages where performance is not up to scratch will find themselves under pressure to do more for their customers.”
Nicely said but drivers wouldn’t need performance information at all if all garages were regulated to perform to minimum and policed standards. As things stand, bad garages can pay to join good garage schemes, thus appearing to be responsible garages, without employing qualified or accredited mechanics.
And from the female motorist’s point of view, especially one who prefers her Yellow Pages Directory to any online listing, how is she to know that a garage listed as ‘Good’ doesn’t employ qualified mechanics to fix her car? Undoubtedly she thinks it does.
One interesting footnote to today’s Press release about all this states ‘The garage sector is regulated in several ways. The sector has to comply with business laws and consumer protection legislation. The MOT scheme is regulated by VOSA, an agency of the Department for Transport.’
All well and good but sadly, in our experience, none of this stops motorists being overcharged, patronised or sold things they don’t want to buy.
So I shall be interested to see how the Government assesses ‘reputable’ mechanics when they aren’t qualified or accredited as fit to do the job before being allowed to tinker with our brakes, for example.
All in all, I’m pleased to see that there will be a spotlight on garages again but wouldn’t it be easier to have one regulation system for all garages? Not just the ones who choose to self-regulate themselves via Motor Codes because the majority of these are franchised dealerships who have been told to sign up by their manufacturers but who presumably operate to higher standards than the Motor Codes Service & Repair code in any case? Which doesn’t include MOT centres as it happens.
And how will the industry judge value for money here? The likes of moneysavingexpert website tells motorists to use local authority centres where they’ll pay full price but aren’t sold anything they don’t need. But motorists will head for the discount deals and garages that may or may not be part of a ‘reputable’ scheme.
All to avoid the inevitable which is surely a fully blown regulatory scheme that outs the bad garages for once and for all.
You can read about 2010/2011 VOSA compliance survey data here. .