Fixed MOT fee debate

Article attracts comment from all sides of the debate

Published:  25 November, 2013

By Greg Whitaker

On one side of the argument we have readers such as workshop owner Tom Williams of White Heather Garage, who noted: "The debate surrounding the MOT test fee has been rumbling on for years and I'm fairly sure it won't be fixed anytime soon. Some years ago, Aftermarket printed my last contribution to the debate, with the observation that much of the problem was that there were far too many testing stations, especially in urban locations."

"Some streets in the nearest town to me now have more than one test station. In the eyes of the vast majority of motorists they are selling an identical product, an MOT test. Naturally this level of competition drives the price down."

Williams adds: "At present, the Government can easily say that if you, as a test station proprietor, don't like the fee as it is, no-one is forcing you to be in the MOT business. Safe in the knowledge that you are easily replaced and if you aren't - that's not a problem either as VOSA is already overstretched trying to oversee a surfeit of existing stations."

Not everybody agrees with this point of view. Sitting firmly on the other side of the fence is Jeff Barber of J & I Garage who takes exception to having an unelected group purporting to represent the interests of all garages. He says: "Who is the IGA?... Another toothless tiger who has no idea why discounting starts."

He explains: "No sooner had we opened our test centre, VOSA approved 4 other test sites within 2.5 miles of our site... and the IGA asks why we discount? Well, it's not rocket science to realise that if a catchment area has two million cars serviced by 10 mot stations, if you open a further five stations, you do not suddenly have three million cars." He adds: "We thought at first that it was the motor trade's problem for applying without first testing the water but soon realised that it is in VOSA's own interest to open more stations. You see more stations equals more staff to oversee stations and more admin staff equals a bigger empire."

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