Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry

The motoring industry of the United Kingdom

Currently in the United Kingdom there is a large amount of consumer issues involved with the motoring industry. Consumers will deal with different entities such as dealers or distributors in relation to different aspects of the motoring industry such as new cars or used cars.

Accordingly it is imperative that consumers are given some form of protection. This is provided for by the Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry.

The Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry

Which individuals are covered by the code?

The Code of Conduct of the Motoring Industry deals with the conduct of the following individuals:

  •       Manufacturers
  •       Importers
  •       Distributors
  •       Dealers

What aspects of the motoring industry does the code deal with?

The Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry deals with the following aspects of the motoring industry:

  •       New cars
  •       Manufacturers’ warranties
  •       Used cars
  •       Parts, accessories, petrol and servicing
  •       Complaints

Where can I obtain a copy of the code?

A copy of the Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry can be obtained from the Retail Motor Industry Federation Ltd.

What kind of issues does the Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry deal with?

One of the main issues dealt with by the Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry is in relation to new cars. For example:

  • New car dealers must carry out the inspection required by the manufacturers and let customers know that this has been done by providing them with a copy of the pre-delivery inspection checklist
  • That any order forms for new cars must show the total price required to put the car on the road. If any conditions are attached they must be reasonable

Are there any requirements which must be adhered to by dealers for used cars?

Often when individuals purchase used cars there is much more scope for them to be ripped off or to be given a bad deal. Consequently dealers of used cars have requirements which they must adhere to under the Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry but also under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 ensuring the following: 

  • To ensure that a false trade description is not applied to any of the cars
  • To ensure that no cars with a false trade description are supplied – this includes dealers selling cars with a false odometer or mileometer reading
  • To ensure that cars should be described
  • To ensure that the car should be fit for the purpose for which it is to be put

Should an individual purchasing a used car be made aware of the previous history of the car?

It is good practice for a dealer of used cars to pass on any information concerning the car’s history which may have been provided by previous owners of the car. Important information can include the likes of any service records provided by previous owners.

Does the dealer have to organise any of this information themselves?

A dealer of used cars should also carry certain pre-sales inspections in order to provide the customer with a pre-sales information report.

Where should the dealer display this report?

The dealer should ensure that this report is displayed in a prominent place in the car.

Does the Code of Practice deal with any issues in relation to the warranty of the car?

Any warranties provided by the manufacturers should be drawn to the customer’s attention and must not restrict the customer’s right to pursue other remedies against the dealer or manufacturer.

Can a warranty be transferred to subsequent owners of the vehicle?

A warrant is capable of being transferred to subsequent owners of the vehicle meaning that the customer should also be able to take the car to any franchise dealer for that car manufacturer in order to have repair works carried out.

Can the warranty period be extended?

It is also possible for the warranty period to be extended in the situation whereby the car is off the road for an extended period of time following repairs or in the situation whereby faults have reoccurred following repairs.

Does the Code deal with any issues in relation to the repair of vehicles?

When an individual takes a vehicle in for major repairs then a firm quotation is required to be given rather than an estimate.

Furthermore there should be no attempt to exclude liability for loss or damage to the car or its contents during repaid. Adequate insurance should be provided to cover such loss or damage and repairs should be guaranteed for a specific mileage or period.

Do consumers have any ability to make a complaint under the Code of Practice?

The Code of Practice of the Motoring Industry lays down a complaints procedure in accordance with the following: 

  • That the customer should first refer the specific complaint to the dealer, director or senior executive 
  • That if the complain is concerned with a new car warranty then the dealer must ensure that they contact the manufacturer rather than resolving the complaint themselves
  • If there is no satisfactory resolution on behalf of the consumer from the dealer or manufacturer the consumer can write to the relevant trade association – however, this can only be done if the dealer is a member
  • The trade association will attempt to find a settlement between the dealer and consumer through a process of conciliation