The Washington-based Motorist Assurance Program, created in 1992 to quiet consumer misgivings and raise the credibility of the auto repair business, took a giant step forward this month with the implementation of pilot programs in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. Similar MAP debuts are expected to take place by fall in Detroit, Denver, Chicago, Richmond, Va., and all of New Jersey as the program's organizers pursue their goal of introducing it across North America before the end of 1997.
MAP answers an important need for car owners and auto service providers alike. Therefore, independent tire dealers, who derive an ever-increasing share of their profits from such services, should support and participate in this program as soon as it becomes locally available.
Established in the wake of allegations of auto repair fraud leveled against Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other large service providers, MAP has grown over the last four years to include 113 member companies representing a whopping 180,000 service bays.
MAP grew out of a coalition of companies representing every facet of the auto repair business. It seeks to polish the tarnished public image of the repair industry by getting service providers to adhere to voluntary guidelines in auto inspection and repair-backing this up with a procedure for mediating customer disputes through the Better Business Bureau.
Participants agree to post the MAP pledge promising customers a full explanation as to whether their service recommendations were based on system failure, improved system performance or preventive maintenance in accordance with accepted industry standards.
Member shops also must present customers with a written estimate before undertaking any work, following this up with a written warranty once it is completed.
Some of the nation's largest auto service providers, including Sears, Montgomery Ward, Midas International, Pep Boys, Goodyear and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., are solidly behind MAP. It's time more tire dealers got on board this important customer-relations effort as well.