Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers an ALTERNATIVE way of resolving your complaint without having to go through often costly, stressful and time-consuming legal action.
The following are some top tips from The Motor Ombudsman to guide you through the ADR process.
Always try to maintain an open dialogue and resolve any complaints directly with the business in the first instance before contacting an ADR body, such as The Motor Ombudsman. It’s important to give them a chance to put things right as, in our experience, most problems can be sorted without needing to take them any further.
Let the business have a maximum period of eight weeks to respond to your complaint from when you first bring the issue to their attention. On some occasions, you may get a response sooner than this. It’s best to put your complaint in writing, and make sure you keep a copy of anything you send to the business.
Tell us all the facts about your dispute with The Motor Ombudsman-accredited business when you submit your case to us. If there is a specific resolution that you are looking for, such as a discount on a repair or a refund, please make this clear on our online form. Make sure that you send us all of the relevant information about your complaint – for example, any documents you’ve signed, or any e-mail correspondence that you’ve had with the business.
Early resolution of a dispute is a priority of ours, so that your complaint can be concluded as quickly as possible. This means looking to see if we can reach a settlement with the business, so that your case doesn’t have to go to an adjudicator.
Remember that, if you or the business rejects the outcome provided by the adjudicator, the case can then be referred for an ombudsman’s final decision, which is the last stage in our ADR process.
Not all cases are the same, and often vary in how complex they are. We look at every case individually, based on the facts and evidence. Whilst your complaint might look similar to someone else’s, there may also be differences that will be really important when it comes to making a decision.
Always respond to the last e-mail that we sent you, to make sure that everything that you and the business sends us stays attached to the same case file.
The work that we do as an Ombudsman does not compromise your legal rights, and you are free to leave the ADR process at any time and take your case to court, even if we have provided you with an outcome – either from an adjudicator or an ombudsman.
Impartiality lies at the heart of what we do. You and the business will always be listened to and treated equally. We’re not an industry trade body, regulator or consumer champion, and we will make a decision that is fair and reasonable based on both sides of the story.
Vehicles are complex pieces of machinery, and sometimes we might need to ask you to provide technical evidence to support your complaint. We’d recommend not going ahead with any remedial work without letting us know first and, if you really do need the car repaired, make sure that the dealership or garage gives you a full report of what’s happened and why. It’s also worth asking to keep the faulty parts because, if we need further evidence, these could then be inspected. Also, if the problem is that you think a diagnosis is incorrect, or the business simply can’t find a fault with your car, you might want to get a second opinion from a different garage or dealership. Remember, if we uphold your complaint, you can claim back any reasonable costs involved in getting this kind of evidence.
Effective communication is really important, both when you’re complaining to the business and using our service. Make sure you let the business know about any problems as soon as they happen, to give you the best chance of getting them resolved. And, please keep us up to date with any developments in your case, like you accepting an offer from the business or selling the vehicle.