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Tire dealers: stop illegal practices

A survey carried out during the latest Autopromotec event shows that, according to most operators, clearer rules and heavier sanctions are needed to combat the illegal exercise of the profession

Carlo Ferro

Improve the existing legislation, stricter controls and heavier sanctions to those who abuse the profession. These are some of the requests that emerged from a survey that Assogomma, Federpneus, Airp and Cna carried out during the last Autopromotec fair. During the five days of the event, more than 1300 visitors from different backgrounds, all professionals in the field of car repair, answered a questionnaire prepared by the associations. The answers given by the interviewees, mostly tire dealers followed by mechatronics, coachbuilders, owners of dealerships and petrol stations, made it possible to draw up a list of suggested changes in terms of regulations and disciplinary procedures in an attempt to curb the plague of illegal practices in the profession. Specifically, 91% of those interviewed were in favour of restoring a list of minimum required equipment needed to work as a tire fitter, which was once provided for by Law 122/92. This law, which was already incomplete at the time of its creation, has now become obsolete and all the associations in the supply chain and car repair specialists professionals are calling for it to be updated. This is deemed necessary also due to the profound changes sweeping across the automotive field and the relentless multiplication of increasingly innovative technologies. “The survey carried out during the Autopromotec trade fair," explained Fabio Bertolotti, director of Assogomma, "demonstrates the possibility of working together, as a supply chain, in the interests of all, including motorists. The results, confirmed the willingness by the sector as a whole, to promote virtuous behaviours and dissociate itself from any shady operator". In addition, the associations pointed out the need to define, throughout the national territory, a unified training program for technical managers, establish provisions containing guidelines to perform correct and safe procedures and a list of equipment necessary to operate. The abolition of the list of minimum equipment, introduced by the Monti Law dated 2012, allowed several non-professional tire dealers the opportunity to start doing business with obvious risks, according to the associations, for road safety. "What clearly emerged, was a widespread desire to have clear and shared rules, promoting important advantages such as greater road safety, fewer tax and environmental offences and curb unfair competition from improvised operators - said Giancarlo Veronesi, president of Federpneus -. According to the latest Vacanze Sicure (safe holidays) campaign, far too many cars in Italy circulate with tires that either do not comply with the registration certificate or are not even approved: who fitted them? Hence the need to turn to qualified dealers”. This latter statement met with the approval of Giuseppe Calì, national spokesman for CNA tire specialists: "I find the results of the survey quite comforting, and I sincerely hope Law 122/92 will be amended as soon as possible, enhancing and protecting the professionalism and know-how of real tire specialist. In the meantime, it would be appropriate to agree on a procedure for the creation and distribution of  plaques, to be affixed on the workshops’ walls, so that the customer is properly informed about the expertise and virtuosity of the company from which they are requesting a service”.


The results of the survey

A detailed analysis of the results of the survey shows that more than 9 out of 10 tire dealers agree with the idea that the profession should be open only to companies that appear in the National Register. The overwhelming majority of the sample interviewed also welcomed the idea of issuing a certificate of conformity every time a tire replacement is carried out. However, one in four do not consider it necessary. Moving on to sanctions, there is a widespread view among operators that the number of checks should be increased and that the current provisions, in terms of sanctions to be imposed on illegal operators, should be enforced. To date, no penalty is imposed if a tire dealer fails to report on the invoice or on the receipt, the price of the product sold separately from the service provided and the environmental contribution for disposal. For this reason, about 90% of the interviewees are calling on the associations to promote an incisive action towards the authorities in favour of enforcing such obligations even with specific sanctions. An interesting fact that emerged from the survey concerns the visibility and professionalism of the tire specialist. 92% of the interviewees, in fact, believe that affixing an identification plate that confirms the operators expertise and qualification in carrying out the profession would be an advantage: for example reporting the registration number to the Chamber of Commerce as well as in the National Register and indicating the name of the technical manager. The survey therefore demonstrates the strong determination of the sector as a whole, to respect the rules, distancing itself from those who operate illegally. It is worth remembering that an investigation conducted by the Police in 2018 had brought to light as many as 22% irregular practices out of a total of 749 businesses controlled, 9% of which were down-right illegal. Figures that deserve attention, but at the same time confirm that 80/90% of the retailers checked were found to be in order and wish to be protected.

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