Changes to the way the MOT works are allowing some garages to 'hold motorists to ransom’, says vehicle ownership and maintenance specialist MotorEasy.
The new Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) rules mean that 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 until the problem has been fixed.
MotorEasy says 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. This misconception can also be 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.
Duncan McClure Fisher, founder of MotorEasy, 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.”
MotorEasy said that, although the changes to the MOT only came into effect on May 20, it has seen customers who have already been caught out.