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Could ‘unscrupulous’ garages take advantage of new MOT rules?

Vehicle ownership and maintenance portal MotorEasy believes that new MOT rules could allow some unscrupulous garages to ‘hold drivers to ransom’.

Under the new Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) rules, faults found during an MOT are classified as either dangerous, major or minor, with official guidance suggesting that major faults should be repaired immediately and that cars with dangerous faults should not be driven at all until the problem has been fixed.

This could mean that some motorists who don’t fully understand their rights may feel trapped into getting repairs done at the workshop where the MOT was carried out, with this also used as leverage by garages to charge over the odds.

Garages have no power to stop motorists from driving their car away, regardless of the severity of the MOT failure.

“We would, naturally, never condone driving on public roads with a dangerous car and anyone who does so will still be risking a fine and penalty points if they are stopped by Police,” explained MotorEasy founder, Duncan McClure Fisher.

“However, we have already seen examples of garages using an interpretation of the wording in the DVSA guidance to bullying motorists to get repairs done before leaving the premises, which they have no right to do.

“Unscrupulous businesses could not only make customers feel they’re unable to take their car away if it fails, but could also hold the customer to ransom over parts and labour prices as a result. After all, if you think you can’t drive the car away, you lose all your negotiation power.”

The DVSA’s MOT Service Manager, Neil Barlow, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you keep your vehicle safe to drive.

“If a car has failed its MOT with a dangerous fault, DVSA’s advice is that it should not be driven until the defect is repaired. This is because it’s dangerous to both the driver and other road users.

“Garages are unable to prevent owners from driving their cars away. But they will provide advice to the owner on what they should do to keep the car safe.”

Editors Opinion

The new MOT rules have been brought into give drivers better clarity over what level of fail their vehicle has achieved, if indeed it has done so. The issue of driving a vehicle that has failed its MOT home has always thrown up a grey area. Should garages allow really dangerous cars to leave the workshop? However, if this did not happen, would there be a pool of cars outside awaiting work, which could then affect everyday repair and maintenance jobs.

What do you think? Should a dangerous vehicle be allowed to leave a garage, or is it up to businesses to ensure other road users are safe? We’d love to hear your thought – email phil@autorepairfocus.comor connect with us on Facebookand Twitter

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