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Autotech Training Builds Case to Prevent DVSA Closing 100-Year-Old Garage Business After First Offence

Autotech Training has helped a family run vehicle dealership, operating 8 sites, narrowly avoid the closure of its 100-year-old business due to a rogue MOT tester – and the garage’s complacency over its MOT Testing data.

 The company owners were first alerted to the seriousness of the situation when they received a disciplinary action letter from the DVSA, which stated that they were facing a five year company wide ban – leaving the company with a possible loss of over £7.5 million.

Autotech Training, part of Autotech Group, has a long history of working with garages to ensure their VTS remains DVSA compliant. In the case of DVSA sanctions, the highly experienced Autotech Training team can also offer representation, and they offered immediate support to the company.

Part of this support included an investigation which revealed that an MOT tester, employed by the company, had carried out an MOT test over a weekend and falsified information to pass the test, which was performed on a vehicle not part of the dealer’s brand remit. In addition, the site in question did not have a Site Manager (SM) in situ.

After spotting the issue on the MOT testing station’s data, the DVSA immediately visited the site in question to investigate, which exacerbated the issue due to the lack of SM, and the ill-equipped responses provided.

In accordance with the MOT Testing Guide the burden of responsibility not only lies with the MOT tester but with the AE and, in the absence of a SM penalties for the failure to appoint anyone lies directly with the company.

Autotech Training Managing Director, Colin Gleghorn, comments: “There were several red flags which the MOT testing station should have spotted had they been checking their MOT data accurately. If spotted immediately, they would have had time to respond and alert the DVSA, negating any serious action.

This essentially illustrates the fact that complacency doesn’t equal compliance. The only misdemeanour on the part of the garage was not looking at the MOT data frequently enough and checking emissions print outs as part of their routine.”

To remain compliant, a VTS needs to ensure that their MOT tester data is regularly reviewed with an Site Manager appointed to manage this process: “In the case of this garage, the SM was on long term sick leave and hadn’t been replaced, so the owners of the company were unaware of the problem, and the subsequent visit by the DVSA,” comments Colin.

Acting on behalf of the company, Autotech Training immediately investigated and compiled evidence in response to the DVSA’s claims: “It is vital that, when responding to such serious allegations, the right language is used, and the correct procedures implemented to mitigate the severity of the penalty.”

The MOT tester’s employment was immediately terminated by the company, and all Site Managers across the business were put on a two day IMI Level 3 Award in MOT Test Centre Management.  Organised and delivered by Autotech Training, the course was held onsite at one of the company’s garages to raise awareness and help the Site Managers remain compliant in the future.

As a result of Autotech Training’s intervention and support, the company avoided a full closure, but they were still given a five year suspended sentence, enabling them to continue trading.

“They certainly haven’t walked away unscathed by the experience,” Colin comments. “This was their first offence which almost resulted in the closure of their entire business. This demonstrates the importance of checking the MOT data and keeping on top of all the information. Above all else, an MOT testing station needs to remain compliant. Becoming complacent is not an option.”

Last month, Autotech Training launched MOTsafe – a web based platform which helps MOT Site Managers and garage owners improve MOT Testing standards, helping them remain compliant. 

A simple to use online tool, MOTsafe analyses and simplifies DVSA data which is particularly valuable to those managing multiple sites.

“MOTsafe provides a snapshot of all the vital data of everything relating to MOTs via a highly visual dashboard,” concludes Colin. “MOTsafe will help managers quickly identify any high risk issues and enable them to gather evidence for the DVSA to safeguard compliancy. We hope that this tool will help other MOT testing stations remain compliant, so they don’t receive any unexpected DVSA sanctions.”

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