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How does The Motor Ombudsman’s ADR process work?


If you’ve been unable to resolve your complaint directly with a Motor Ombudsman-accredited business, either because you’ve received their final response and are unhappy with it, or haven’t received an answer at all within eight weeks of making your complaint, you can get in touch with us to raise a case.


How do I tell you about my dispute with an accredited business?

The best way to do this is to complete our short web form. This allows you to provide details about the vehicle which your complaint is about, to tell us about the reason for the dispute, and the resolution that you’re looking for from the business (e.g. money off the cost of the repair or a refund). We will also need to see a copy of the final response from the business, as well as any other documentation or evidence that’s relevant, such as photographs, sales invoices or e-mails between you and the business – we’ll ask you to provide this once we’ve confirmed we’re able to help.


Once the form has been submitted, a case file will be created on our system, and you will receive a six-digit case number from us, as well as a longer tracking reference. From this point onwards, all information will then be attached to this number so that your documents and correspondence are kept safely in one place. Make sure you use the long tracking number on any e-mails you send to us to keep everything on one case file.


How we investigate your dispute 

The next stage of the process will see our case administrators gathering information from the business so that we have both sides of the story, thereby enabling us to deliver a fair outcome based on the evidence provided.


Early resolution

Once we have all of the required evidence, we will look to see whether the case can be resolved more quickly through an early resolution, meaning that it will not need a formal review. This is normally when the business makes an offer to settle the dispute or carry out an action, like repairing the vehicle.



Your case may be eligible for mediation, which allows both parties the space to talk and work through what has happened with a mediator, to try to reach a mutually beneficial solution, without needing to go to formal adjudication. You can find out more about this here.



If we have not been able to informally resolve the dispute, an adjudicator will review the entire case file from a neutral point of view and see what’s happened.


Based on the evidence provided, the Code of Practice and any applicable law, they will reach a fair and reasonable outcome and, if they think your complaint should be upheld, they will let you know what the business needs to do to put things right. For more information on the possible awards we could make, please take a look at our guide.


If you accept the adjudication outcome, and the business also agrees, and has been asked to take any remedial action – for example, repairing the car or providing you with a refund, we will ensure this is carried out before closing the case.


Final decision

If either yourself or the business disagrees with the adjudication outcome, you can request a final decision from an ombudsman.


It’s their job to review the case once again, and to look at any other information and evidence that has come to light since the adjudicator delivered their outcome. They might agree with the adjudicator, or the ombudsman might reach a different conclusion.


Whatever happens, it’s up to you, the consumer, to decide if you’d like to accept the ombudsman’s decision or not. If you accept it, it will be binding on both you and the business. If you disagree with the final decision, which is the last stage of our ADR process, you have the right to pursue your case in a court of law. In this scenario, the judge may take into account the decision(s) delivered by The Motor Ombudsman when coming to their judgment.

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