Cars costing consumers too much

10 September 2004
It is time for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate high car prices, says an influential group of MPs.

The Trade and Industry select committee believes people in the UK are still paying too much for cars and as such the OFT should re-open its investigation into prices.

The group expressed concern that generous discounts offered to fleet buyers were not currently being offered to large retailers.

It also said, compared with drivers in other European countries, British consumers are paying too much to have their cars serviced or repaired: 50 per cent more than in France and 40 per cent more than German motorists

In a statement the all-party group announced: "In particular, many of the criteria for independent garages to achieve 'authorised repairer' status appear to be barriers to entry rather than driven by a genuine concern for the quality of service offered."

It added: "Neither is the quality of servicing particularly good. Mechanics routinely miss out basic safety checks, charge for work they have not done and recommend unnecessary repairs."

As for the actual price of cars, the MPs said it saw "no reason" why fleet purchasers should benefit so much from discounts.

Therefore, it continued: "If bulk purchases by dealers were discounted in a similar way to fleet purchases of a similar size, consumers might see some benefit from this consolidation."
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