FOXY Lady Drivers Club
The SMMT's Motor Codes favoured manufacturer dealers over independents from the start (August 08) because Ford and Peugeot gave them the national coverage they needed by demanding that their dealerships sign up. Other manufacturers may well have done this too.
The OFT had a vested interest here as well - it wanted to earn from a big industry sign up to its approved code scheme despite knowing that the Motor Codes plan was to promote subscribers to consumers early on, when these were clearly mainly dealerships that are too expensive for service and repair work for motorists running older cars and on a budget.
I know from experience that one of the biggest areas for complaints is when motorists (often female) perceive they have been overcharged and/or sold services they didn't want or need.
In effect, any Tom, Dick or Harry garage and/or dealership can sign up to the Motor Code for as little as £75 and then be promoted as a 'good garage' without any fear of imminent inspection.
Add in the compulsory cost of leaflets and the income from c5500 dealers and garages is some £570k - not a bad little earner for SMMT and certainly enough for a national PR and advertising campaign to promote dealerships over independents.
I write about this so that motorists will understand what their local garage choices are and how to identify the REALLY GOOD ones (not just the ones that claim to be GOOD GARAGES...)
I do this because if they wander into a REALLY BAD local garage or dealership (which could just as well be a Motor Codes subscriber) their car could be returned to them in a dangerous state without their questioning this in an industry recommended business.
I suppose the SMMT could be complimented for trying to make things better here and ideally attempting to unify competing schemes (ATA, Kitemark and OFT approved code) but they were always the wrong sponsor for this service. Like the RMI's Carwise and another 11 trade schemes previously and over the last 50 years... they had an obvious vested interest which was never going to put the customer first.
Unless the likes of Lloyds TSB Autoleasing can change the number of independents on board to give motorists more choice, I think the super complaint cometh sooner rather than later now... despite the recent intensity of Motor Codes PR and recruitment activity.
I remain puzzled by any leading dealership or independent garage choosing to subscribe to 'honest and fair services', 'open and transparent pricing', 'work completed as agreed' and 'invoices that match quotes'. What were their service levels beforehand I wonder...
Whereas an independent and consumer-led organisation could have done the job well here. Even FOXY has set its quality bar higher than Motor Codes at www.foxychoice.com (we require a business commitment to never knowingly overcharge, patronise or sell services that motorists don't need or want...) because if you get service levels right for fussy women shoppers, (most) men are likely to be delighted as a consequence. And of course we have the female UK network to do the necessary mystery shopping via the Club.
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