It’s been a year since the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Sales was introduced, and during that time, The Motor Ombudsman reports it has received nearly 13,000 customer ‘contacts’.
The numbers show that customers are increasingly aware of their rights when buying a vehicle, and are prepared to complain – particularly when it comes to a significant purchase such as car.
While only 540 of the complaints resulted in cases for the Ombudsman, this report should serve as a warning to those retailers who don’t have their customers’ best interests in mind.
Trust is a crucial factor in vehicle sales, and it’s not enough to sign up to a Code of Practice and simply pay lip service to it. Retailers which do so should consider how each point of the Code works in practice against their existing processes. Ask how that impacts the customer experience for the better, and then make appropriate improvements.
It’s also in a retailer’s interest to really help a customer find the right car for them. According to a recent report by Autotrader, 85% of car buyers don’t think the car they purchased was their ‘perfect car’. If a buyer comes away from a transaction feeling like they compromised in some way, that they were misled by the information provided about the car, or that they were somehow pressured into making a decision before they were ready, this could reflect negatively on the retailer.
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, explains: “It’s important to point out that this upward trend in the volume of individuals getting in touch with us does not signal a rise in the number of customer complaints or that there has been a decline in industry standards. Instead, it’s the result of heightened awareness amongst motorists of the Code of Practice and the benefits of engaging in open dialogue and Alternative Dispute Resolution via The Motor Ombudsman, without the need to pursue costly legal action to solve an issue with a garage.”
The Code of Practice provides guidelines to motor retailers on the various elements of the sales process for both new and used cars, including warranty and the supply of finance. Retailers sign-up to the Code voluntarily, and the Ombudsman provides impartial dispute resolution for instances where a customer feels their retailer has failed to meet the Code guidelines.
Read the full Code of Practice https://www.themotorombudsman.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2017/01/Vehicle_Sales_Code.pdf
Search for an Ombudsman accredited retailer https://www.themotorombudsman.org/garage-finder