South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has called for the Competition Commission to look at the use of Approved Repairer Schemes in the motor vehicle repair industry.
Ms Ritchie added: “I have been informed by constituents that certain insurance companies are using preferential deals with ‘approved’ auto repair facilities to the exclusion of other service providers.
“Such a practice hurts local business that are not on such a list and also pushes up the price for consumers who have restricted freedom in their choice of company.
“Recently the European Commission has made it clear that repair networks should be open to all firms that meet a certain standard. It would seem that the market in Northern Ireland is not operating in this fashion.
“I have tabled parliamentary questions to the Department of Transport on this issue seeking clarification on this matter. I also think it is important that the Competition Commission looks at this within the remit of their current investigation into the car insurance industry and how claims are handled.
“The Competition Commission inquiry presents an opportunity for proper reform of the insurance market and it is important that this is taken.”]]>