The Code of Practice of the Motor Industry

This deals with:
a. New cars
b. Manufacturers' warranties
c. Used cars
d. Parts, accessories, petrol and servicing
e. Complaints
The Code covers conduct by manufacturers, importers, distributors and dealers. A copy of the Code can be obtained from Retail Motor Industry Federation Ltd.
The Code includes matters such as:
a. The requirements for dealers to carry out the inspection required by the manufacturers for new cars and let the customer know that this has been done by providing them with a copy of the pre-delivery inspection checklist.
b. Any order forms for new cars must show the total price required to put the car on the road. Any conditions attached must be reasonable.
c. With regard to used cars, dealers should bear in mind their obligations under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and ensure:
(i) That a false trade description is not applied to any of the cars or supply any cars which have a false description. (This would include dealers selling a car with a false odometer or mileometer reading).
(ii) Cars should be as described.
(iii) The car should be fit for the purpose to which it is to be put.
As good practice a dealer should pass on information about the car's history as provided by previous owners including any service records.
The dealer should also carry out pre-sales inspections and provide the consumer with a pre-sales information report and this should also be displayed in a prominent place in the car.
d. Any manufacturer's warranty should be drawn to the customer's attention and must not restrict the customer's right to pursue other remedies against the dealer/manufacturer (e.g. Court action).
Warranties should be capable of transfer to subsequent owners and the customer should be able to take the car to any franchise dealer to carry out repair works. Extensions to the warranty period should also be considered if the car is off the road for an extended period due to repairs or if following repair faults reoccur during the warranty period.
e. Firm quotations rather than estimates should be given for major repairs. There should be no attempt to exclude liability for loss or damage to the car or its contents, (adequate insurance should be provided to cover such loss or damage) and repairs should be guaranteed for a specific mileage or period.
f. A complaints procedure laid down by the Code is as follows:
(i) The customer should first refer the complaint to the dealer, Director or Senior Executive.
(ii) If the complaint is about a new car warranty the dealer must contact the manufacturer rather than resolving it themselves.
(iii) If the customer receives no satisfactory resolution from the dealer or manufacturer they can write to the relevant trade association (If the dealer is a member).
(iv) The trade association will try to reach a settlement between the dealer and the customer through conciliation. There is no fee payable for the conciliation service. If this fails they will arrange arbitration on a "documents only" basis which means there will be no hearing attended by the parties. A fee will be payable, however this is around £40.00 and refundable if the claim is upheld. Any written award made on arbitration is enforceable in the Court.
(v) Consumers can sue instead of choosing arbitration.