Our powers

Putting things right

We are not here to take sides, our role is to investigate the complaint by taking account of any information, facts and evidence available and resolve the matter fairly if there is evidence to show that the business has done something wrong.

We are not here to punish companies but aim to put you in the position you would have been in had the problem not occurred.

We can recommend:

  • an apology;
  • an explanation of what went wrong;
  • a practical action to correct the problem;
  • and/or a financial award (subject to a limit).

We may also make recommendations to the company so that it can avoid similar problems happening again.

If you reject our decision, you lose the right to the resolution we have offered but you will be able to take your complaint elsewhere, such as the courts.

Penalty points

The Motor Ombudsman can issue penalty points to businesses that fail to comply with The Code of Practice or engage in the dispute resolution process.

Failure to comply with a request for adjudication or the terms of a final decision means that a business’ accreditation may be placed in a state of suspension in line with the terms and conditions, and they may then be suspended from the Code.

Disciplinary action

The Independent Compliance Assessment Panel (ICAP) is an independent panel which monitors the operation of the Codes and the accredited businesses’ compliance with those Codes. ICAP will also meet to review cases of persistent or serious breaches of the Code by accredited businesses.

ICAP is independent of the sector and its authority over accredited businesses reflects the serious nature with which The Motor Ombudsman views non–compliance. It is the responsibility of The Motor Ombudsman to acknowledge when an accredited business has breached the Codes in a manner that requires more than adjudication and make a referral to ICAP.


Read more about how we remain impartial here.