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Motor Ombudsman expands code of practice to mobile mechanics

The Motor Ombudsman has expanded its code of practice for service and repair to cover mobile mechanics, tyre fitters and smart repairers.

The expansion coincides with the 15th anniversary of the launch of the service and repair code, which was introduced on May 23, 2008.

The code has the principal aim of driving up standards in the service and repair sector, and reducing the level of consumer detriment.

Accreditation has previously been open to physical sites of independent garages, franchise dealer workshops and body repair centres across the UK.

However, consumers will be able to receive the same level of protection as having their vehicle repaired at fixed premises.

Among other requirements, accredited mobile mechanics will need to signpost consumers to The Motor Ombudsman’s free-to-use dispute resolution service in the event of an unresolved complaint.

The widening and updating of the scope of the code of practice comes in response to both the growing usage of mobile mechanics for vehicle repairs, which was particularly notable during the pandemic when many motorists were isolating, as well as the increasing number of requests for Motor Ombudsman accreditation from off-premises repairers.

Independent mobile mechanics, and those operating under a franchise arrangement, will now be able to apply to be a part of the code, and will be subject, on application, to the same assessment as businesses with a named location.

The Motor Ombudsman said: “This ensures that the high standards of work and service required by accreditation are continually met.

“Furthermore, mobile mechanics that commit to operating in accordance with the service and repair code, will abide by the same guidelines as those followed by thousands of businesses across the country.”

These clauses include, the use of honest and accurate advertising, open and transparent pricing, staff that act in the customer’s best interests, having a swift complaints handling process in place should something go wrong, and signposting a vehicle owner to The Motor Ombudsman’s free-of-charge independent and impartial Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service to help reach a fair and swift outcome, should a dispute not be concluded between the two parties in the first instance.

An evolving code

Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “It is essential that our codes of practice evolve in line with the direction of the industry and vehicle ownership trends.

“Mobile mechanics and repairers provide an important and valuable service to consumers, and expanding our service and repair code to encompass this area of the market gives motorists an even greater level of protection and recourse when getting their vehicle repaired.

“Conversely, mobile mechanics will have an automotive authority to consult for information and expertise on managing disputes swiftly and effectively.”

  • The list of businesses that are accredited to The Motor Ombudsman’s Service and Repair Code can be found at www.themotorombudsman.org/garage-finder

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