THE behind-the-scenes wrangling among some alarm agents has become an almost farcical trading of insults, accusations and threats of litigation. The adoption of the British Motor Insurance Repair and Research Centre's (MIRRC) report in Hong Kong should give some solid evidence of the effectiveness of different brands of alarm. Insurance companies would then not have to rely on the claims of the alarm agents, but would be able to refer their policy holders to the approved list of a definitive scientific study. The argument that agents should be free to set their own prices and that market forces determine rates does not hold true in view of the fact that luxury car owners are restricted in their choice by their insurers. There are cheaper alarms available in Hong Kong which, according to overseas studies, are just as effective. A proper set of guidelines would resolve the issue once and for all. The UK's largest motor insurer, Norwich Union, has promised to offer discounts of up to 25 per cent to policy holders fitting an alarm and immobiliser approved by the MIRRC's report. Hong Kong motorists can only hope that guidelines similar to those contained in the MIRRC report are adopted in the territory and the effects are as favourable.