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Press releases 2004 -

OFT approves VBRA code of practice

169/04     13 October 2004

The Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association Ltd (VBRA) has secured approval for its consumer code of practice under the OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS).

The VBRA is the second industry body to receive OFT approval for their code of practice.

The VBRA code sets the standards that members must comply with when providing vehicle repair services to customers. All eligible VBRA members have signed up to the approved code. By doing so they have agreed to provide the following benefits to consumers:

  • a disciplinary committee to deal with members who do not deliver the promises in the code
  • a conciliation service to handle consumer complaints if a member's own complaints procedure does not resolve an issue
  • reference to a low cost arbitration process to handle unresolved consumer disputes following conciliation
  • estimates and/or quotations available to all customers
  • a dedicated customer services manager appointed by each VBRA member who acts as the first port of call for customers with any queries or complaints about the service being provided to them
  • continuing monitoring of customer satisfaction so that problem areas can be identified and addressed.

The OFT consumer codes approval scheme has two stages:

Stage one - the code sponsor makes a promise that its code meets the OFT's core criteria in principle. The sponsor must make sure its code contains measures designed to remove or ease consumer concerns and undesirable trading practices in its sector.

Stage two - the code sponsor must prove its code lives up to the initial promise it made. That means the code sponsor must demonstrate that the code is being effectively implemented by its members and that consumer disputes are being properly resolved.

The OFT will only approve and promote codes that are shown to safeguard and promote consumers' interests beyond the basic requirements of the law. Members operating to a code that achieves OFT approval will be able to display the OFT 'approved code' logo.

Penny Boys, OFT Executive Director, said:

'The OFT code scheme is rigorous and demands a high standard of customer service from code sponsors and members. OFT approval means consumers can be confident that they will be dealt with reliably and fairly by members if problems arise, this can be especially reassuring for customers following a road accident.'

Ron Nicholson, Director General of the VBRA, said:

'We are delighted and very proud on behalf of our members that the VBRA consumer code has been granted the OFT code approval. This is a significant milestone for the VBRA and the industry setting the benchmark for businesses where customers can have work carried out with complete confidence. Members who have signed the licence for the use of the OFT approved code logo can use the logo to gain significant commercial advantage and raise awareness of their good practice.'

NOTES

1. The independent trade association covers the UK vehicle body builders and repairers industry. The code applies to members who deal directly with consumers only.

2. The Enterprise Act 2002 gives the OFT increased powers to help develop effective self-regulation through approving and promoting consumer codes of practice that meet the OFT's core criteria.

3. The OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme aims to promote and safeguard consumers' interests by helping consumers identify better businesses and to encourage those businesses to raise standards of customer service by meeting the OFT's core criteria.

4. Code sponsors who have completed stage one and are working towards approval of their code, are: the Ombudsman of Estate Agents Company Ltd (OEA) (see press release 69a/02); the Direct Selling Association (see press release 84/02) and the Association of British Travel Agents (see press release 15/03).




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