Garages accused of “bullying” customers into repairs following MOT change

MOT test stations are being accused of “bullying motorists into repairs” because of confusing DVSA wording which means drivers could be ‘held to ransom’ by garages.

Vehicle ownership and maintenance service provider, MotorEasy claims mechanics are misinterpreting DVSA guidance and “bullying motorists to get repairs done before leaving the premises”.

MOT standard changes and a revised inspection manual came into force on Sunday 20 May, 2018 and while the legality of driving a dangerous vehicle has not changed the DVSA has made the wording on MOT failure documents clear in reminding motorists that driving a dangerous vehicle is illegal.

DVSA wording

However, MotorEasy claim the wording means owners are being made to “feel that they have to fork out for the cost of repairs at the garage conducting the MOT”.

MotorEasy founder, Duncan McClure Fisher said: “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.

“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.”

Related: New MOT standards go live but confusion remains over ‘dangerous’ defects

The DVSA has made it clear that it is not the responsibility of test stations “to try and physically stop” drivers of dangerous vehicles.

Workshops are advised that their role is to provide motorists with “clear advice that they do have dangerous defects”.

The DVSA’s MOT service manager, Neil Barlow said: “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.”

Fast fit testing

Commenting on the GW forum recently, GW reader, Paul said: “A lady had a test carried out at a local fast fit centre and ended up with a dangerous fail on corroded brake discs along with a lecture on what could happen if the discs cracked under braking.

“We were asked to replace the brakes but had to inform the owner there was nothing at all wrong with them and could not justify the costs.

“We then carried out our own test, replaced a wrongly fitted headlight bulb and gave a pass.

“The only reason she originally had a fail was for greed and we took photos of the discs to show this was the case.”

Are workshops being unfairly tarred under the same brush as the few that are perhaps taking advantage of the new MOT? What should be done to crack down on unscrupulous businesses? Share your experiences and concerns below.

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