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Garages tested by undercover mystery motorist survey

17:54 25 March 2014

Trading Standards business engagement officer Jon Bolam, left, and independent assessor Mike Pope from Angell Assessors check out a vehicle which has been serviced by a local garage in the mystery shopper survey. Picture: Denise Bradley

Trading Standards business engagement officer Jon Bolam, left, and independent assessor Mike Pope from Angell Assessors check out a vehicle which has been serviced by a local garage in the mystery shopper survey. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Garages in Norfolk have been put in the spotlight after Trading Standards conducted a ‘mystery motorist’ survey.

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Officers posed as customers bringing their cars in for a service, then had the results independently checked.

The majority of garages were found to have carried out services as promised and though minor checks were missed, officers say there was nothing to warrant further action. Faults planted by officers included under-inflated tyres and low brake fluid and oil levels – problems which, if left, could be a risk to drivers.

One in every 10 complaints made to Norfolk Trading Standards annually are related to cars, and officers say they will now work with garages to improve standards.

Trading Standards officer Jon Peddle: “In general terms these results are quite pleasing – and they are pretty good news overall for consumers.

“The vehicle inspectors did find that a number of minor items were missed when the cars came back, and we will be following up with the businesses concerned, but we found absolutely nothing to warrant taking further action against any of the businesses we checked.

“Nevertheless, with 2,000 complaints from Norfolk consumers about cars last year, and 263 complaints about car servicing representing £160,000-worth of work to vehicles, we know that this issue remains the number one topic of concern for residents. So we have no intention of taking our foot off the gas when it comes to keeping a very close eye on this business sector.”

He advised motorists to look out for garages which were part of the Trusted Trader network, or similar approved schemes, for peace of mind.

Anyone with a complaint about their garage can call 08454 040506.

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