The start of the New Year is when many people look to make resolutions and to change the way that they do things for the better.
The Motor Ombudsman, the Ombudsman for the automotive sector, is therefore urging motorists to spend time doing research in order to ensure that the independent garage or franchised car dealership is accredited to the body when buying, repairing or servicing a vehicle.
Using an accredited business gives consumers important peace of mind, as the retailer or repairer has committed to The Motor Ombudsman’s Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Codes of Practice for Service and Repair and/or Vehicle Sales (covering both new and used cars). The Codes are a comprehensive set of operating guidelines which have been designed to allow a business to operate to even higher standards and deliver exemplary customer service and workmanship. This includes the use of clear pricing and invoicing, advertising which is factually correct and only carrying out work which has been agreed beforehand with the vehicle owner.
Furthermore, if a business adheres to a Code of Practice, this means that consumers have access to The Motor Ombudsman’s free and impartial Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service and Information Line should they have a complaint. ADR is a form of mediation between two parties and a quick and fair way of solving a dispute outside of the courtroom. This thereby avoids the need for immediate legal action which can prove time-consuming, costly and stressful for everyone involved.
Motorists are able to easily identify whether a business is signed up to a Motor Ombudsman Code of Practice. The online Garage Finder (TheMotorOmbudsman.org/garage-finder) lists all businesses that are accredited across the UK by name, town and postcode. Customers can equally look out for the trusted Approved Code and Motor Ombudsman logos on a garage’s premises or website.
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, explained: “When it comes to buying a car or having routine maintenance on a vehicle, consumers regularly have a large choice of garages in their local area. It can therefore be difficult to make a decision as to where to go, and to determine the criteria on which to base it. A few seconds of research is all it takes to ensure that the garage is accredited to us. This will help to alleviate these common concerns, whilst at the same time, give individuals the reassurance and confidence that the business will value their custom and act in their best interests.”