The consumer’s issue:
“I have been loyal to the business for over 10 years, but on this occasion, I have been treated like a second class citizen. Firstly, I was given a poor level of service by their servicing department. Secondly, my 10% off loyalty card was taken away from me. I was basically forced to buy a car from them, because the MOT bill would have been more than the value of my previous vehicle.
In addition, I have five disabling conditions covered under the Equality Act 2010, and I suffer from anxiety and depression. My family and I came to the business to look at a new car for my wife, and I feel that I have been conned by the business after they undervalued the price of my previous car and overcharged me for the service plan. I was also told that they would give me free fuel and mats with the purchase of the car, but they ended up charging for these. I explained my health conditions to the sales advisor, and I want my money back for the car as a result of the stress and inconvenience that has been caused.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The consumer contacted one of our branches to have an MOT carried out on a previous vehicle.
- The customer was advised that we could not apply the 10% discount card, as it had been invalid across the group for at least 12 months. However, the consumer was aware of this and still wanted to go ahead with the work.
- The bill for the work for his vehicle to pass its MOT proved uneconomical, and at this stage, the consumer was advised of these costs.
- There was no pressure placed on the customer to have the car repaired. He was simply informed of the costs, and any further decision as to the next steps was left up to him.
- The consumer then decided to purchase a vehicle, and raised the issue of feeling scammed. We offered a fair price for his vehicle, bearing in mind that a large amount of work was going to be required to his previous one. Again, the consumer was free to decide as to whether to accept the price or not.
- The comment regarding the cost of service plan is again very straightforward. The actual plan applicable to the consumer’s vehicle is the price that he has been charged. We are sorry that the consumer is unhappy about this, but throughout the process and his previous contact with both Customer Services, and latterly with the office of our Managing Director, all of this was clearly explained to him.
- Therefore, based on the above, we do not believe that we should be made liable for the costs claimed by the consumer.
The adjudication outcome:
- In regards to the consumer seeking compensation for inconvenience and bad service, The Motor Ombudsman doesn’t award compensation for losses that aren’t easily quantifiable, such as inconvenience or stress.
- With that in mind, it wouldn’t be possible to reimburse the customer for this.
- In terms of the loyalty card, the adjudicator informed the consumer that the business stated that it had been discontinued throughout the company for at least 12 months.
- The consumer has the evidential burden of showing to The Motor Ombudsman that the business hasn’t complied with its Codes of Practice. However, the adjudicator found that the consumer hadn’t provided any evidence to support his multiple claims for a reimbursement, meaning that the complaint was not upheld in their favour.
- Both parties accepted the decision from The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator, and the case was closed.