Accreditation Q&A

Businesses seeking information on the Code of Practice or procedures should consult the Codes of Practice. If you cannot find the information you require in these documents or our Q&A section, please contact our Accreditation team who will be happy to help.

Who is The Motor Ombudsman?

We are the automotive dispute resolution body. We are the first voluntary and fully-impartial private sector ombudsman that provides a self-regulatory environment for the automotive industry using our Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Codes of Practice.

We complement consumer law rather than being a substitute for it.

We are not:

  • A consumer or industry champion
  • A regulator
  • A government-backed watchdog
  • The voice of the automotive industry
Is This The First Time That The Automotive Industry Has Had Its Own Ombudsman?

Yes it is, and therefore it’s a significant development for consumers and the motor industry.

What Key Services Does The Motor Ombudsman Offer?
  • We provide the most comprehensive and detailed Codes of Practice for the automotive sector. They have been designed to ensure that accredited businesses operate to high standards, whilst our Codes of Practice also offer consumers the greatest level of protection during the buying and vehicle ownership experience. They are all Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved
  • We guide consumers and accredited businesses through the entire Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, from adjudication through to a final ombudsman decision, all in-house
  • We cut costs for businesses by providing quick and fair resolutions, and helps to avoid unfounded consumer claims, and ultimately, the courtroom
  • We supply information to consumers and accredited businesses on disputes alongside the adjudication process
  • We provide access to online resources. For example, the ‘Garage Finder’ on The Motor Ombudsman website (themotorombudsman.org) allows consumers to view feedback and find their nearest Motor Ombudsman accredited garage quickly and easily. There is also an online vehicle recall database and a list of suspended and expelled garages and dealers
  • We conduct marketing and PR initiatives to drive increased awareness of the benefits of The Motor Ombudsman to consumers and accredited businesses
How Is The Motor Ombudsman Funded?

We are fully impartial, and are funded by fees paid for by our accredited businesses who are made up of vehicle manufacturers, vehicle warranty product providers, independent garages and franchised dealers who have signed up to one or more of our four Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Codes of Practice.

Who Is Our Chief Ombudsman And What Is Their Role?

Bill Fennell is our Chief Ombudsman and the Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman. The Chief Ombudsman is a statutory appointment made by the Board of Directors of The Motor Ombudsman, and Bill has ultimate responsibility for the operation of The Motor Ombudsman scheme, including overseeing the annual business plan and budget management. He is also tasked with liaising with key stakeholders, overseeing casework policy, ensuring casework quality, and ensuring that all activities are compliant with ombudsman processes, amongst other requirements.

Who Is The In-House Ombudsman And What Is Their Role?

Natasha Gasson, a graduate in law with experience in alternative dispute resolution, is the Ombudsman, and her primary responsibility is to review cases and issue a final decision if they have not been resolved through the adjudication process.

She is also responsible for providing information to you on consumer law and complaint management, developing and improving the alternative dispute resolution process and keeping abreast of relevant legislative and regulatory changes, amongst other tasks.

Is A Final Decision From The Ombudsman Binding?

The final decision from our Ombudsman is binding if your customer accepts it. If the decision goes in the consumer’s favour, you must then award what the customer is due as you have agreed to our Terms and Conditions.

However, if the consumer doesn’t accept it, the final decision is not binding. In this instance, they are then free to pursue their case in a court of law, but the Ombudsman’s decision may still be taken into account when a judgement is delivered.

How Does The Motor Ombudsman Differ From Other Providers of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) In The Automotive Industry?

We operate exclusively within the automotive industry, and provide sector-specific expertise and knowledge. It is also founded on eight years’ experience of resolving disputes in the automotive industry. To deliver fair and consistent resolutions, We consider both consumer legislation and our Motor Industry Codes of Practice. These are the most comprehensive in the sector, and have the largest number of accredited garages and franchised dealers of any ADR provider

In addition, for continued consistency, the entire dispute resolution process, from adjudication to a final decision, is in-house.

Is The Motor Ombudsman Fully Impartial?

Yes. We represent you and the customer in equal measure, and listen to both sides to deliver consistently fair outcomes.

To ensure total impartiality, and that all enquiries, requests for information and cases have been handled correctly, we are overseen by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Consumer Codes Approval Board (CCAB), the Independent Compliance Assessment Panel (ICAP) and a board of Non-Executive Directors, where the majority are from a non-automotive background.

An annual report and separate ICAP report will be published every year to ensure transparency in relation to The Motor Ombudsman’s activities.

Which Businesses Can Become Accredited To A Code of Practice?

Subject to meeting the application criteria and the necessary quality standards, organisations that can become a Motor Ombudsman-accredited business are as follows:

The New Car Code:

  • Vehicle manufacturers only

The Service and Repair Code:

  • Franchised car dealerships
  • Independent garages (including fast-fit specialists and MOT stations)

The Vehicle Sales Code:

  • Franchised car dealerships
  • Independent used car outlets
  • Service and repair garages that also sell used cars

The Vehicle Warranty Products Code:

  • Vehicle warranty providers only
How Do You Become Accredited To The Service and Repair And Vehicle Sales Codes of Practice?

You can apply for accreditation by submitting an application through our website, and complete an online self-assessment. This is checked thoroughly by us to ensure compliance, and proof of documentation must be supplied by you within 30 days of their application to satisfy all of the rigorous screening and quality criteria. Once the accreditation has been approved, and is live, you will then be vetted by on-site spot checks to ensure that you are continuing to meet the accreditation criteria.

What Are The Costs Of Becoming An Accredited Member Of A Code Of Practice?

The cost of annual accreditation to a single Code is £195+VAT. The cost to gain accreditation to a second Code if you are already accredited is £99+VAT per year. The cost of dual accreditation is £294+VAT per annum.

You are able to be accredited to more than one Code of Practice, if relevant, as long as you meet the necessary criteria.

If the final decision from the ombudsman goes against you following a breach of the Service and Repair Code or Vehicle Sales Code, and where the business has not made any attempt to resolve the issue, they will be required to pay £99+VAT per case.

Can We Still Assist Consumers If The Business Is Not Accredited To A Code of Practice?

We will not be able to take on a complaint about a business which is not accredited to a Code of Practice, but can provide information and signpost consumers to other organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.

How Long Does It Take To Resolve A Consumer Dispute?

This varies depending on the complexity of the case. Some complaints will be suitable for a swift early resolution by an adjudicator, and so can take just five working days (maximum). For complaints where adjudication is required, it can take up to 90 days for a decision from when it accepts the complaint. The full dispute resolution process can be found on our website (www.TheMotorOmbudsman.org).

What Key Benefits Does The Motor Ombudsman Offer Accredited Businesses
  • It is cost effective - the accreditation fees are likely to be less than the legal fees if a case went to court
  • ADR and a final decision is only paid for if the final decision is not in their favour and they have been unable to demonstrate any attempt at resolving the dispute
  • Access to consistent and fair adjudication which is delivered completely in-house based on the Codes of Practice and relevant legislation, in the event that a dispute with a customer cannot be resolved internally
  • Adhering to one or more of The Motor Ombudsman’s Codes of Practice, helps to raise standards and encourages the use of The Motor Ombudsman’s dispute resolution service to solve customer complaints, as a last resort
  • The ability to display the Motor Ombudsman and CTSI-Approved Code logos on their premises and corporate literature
  • Tailored information from The Motor Ombudsman’s legally-qualified and highly-experienced team of adjudicators
  • A free company listing on the Garage Finder and CTSI websites to drive increased footfall
  • Access to online training courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which have been developed with the CTSI. Both training courses are CPD certified, and modules can be stopped and started to suit an individual’s workload (i.e. they are SCORM-compliant)
Will Further Motor Industry Codes Of Practice Be Introduced Going Forward?

The Motor Ombudsman will continue to review any requirements for additional Codes of Practice in line with industry demand, and further Codes will be introduced as appropriate.

How Do I Renew My Subscription?

You can login and renew through the The Motor Obudsman website Login Page by debit or credit card, if you need to send in a cheque, or would like to pay by BACS, please contact our team on 020 7344 1651 (option 2) to get the necessary information required, or if you are unsure of your login details.

Please Can We Have A Invoice Or Receipt For Our Payment?

Invoices can be found in your Account page when logging onto the portal, if your require a invoice before payment, please call and speak to our team on 020 7344 1651 (option 2) who will arrange this.

I Don't Seem To Be Showing As A Subscriber On The Garage Finder

Please check that

  1. Your accreditation is renewed by logging into the portal to make sure you haven't expired.
  2. Check your map location is correct in your account.

If 1 and 2 are correct, please feel free to call us on 020 7344 1651 and we will investigate.

I Have Forgotten My Login Details? / New Contact And Need To Update The Records

You can request a new password via the website Lost password, if you are unsure of your username, please call us on 020 7344 1651 (option 2) to remind you or to amend it for you.

How Do I Register?

You can register online via the website. Call us on 020 7344 1651 (option 2) if you need help applying or if you have any questions about becoming accredited to The Motor Ombudsman

How Do We Order Consumers Guides, A Replacement Certificate Or Any Other Code Shop Items?

Please login into the portal and click on Code Shop to place a order by Debit or Credit card. If you require a different form of payment, please print off the Order Form and send back to us with a cheque or BACS to help@tmo-org.uk

How Do We Appeal Against A Review?

We suggest you initially refer the customer to The Motor Ombudsman Information Line on 0843 910 9000, as we may be able to help in resolving the dispute or offering some advice. Otherwise please email us at help@tmo-org.uk with a summary of what happened with the customer and why you think the survey should be removed. We will review your appeal and respond within 48 hrs.