Privacy Notice

Privacy Notice

We ask that you read this privacy notice carefully as it contains important information on who we are, how and why we collect, store, use and share personal information, your rights in relation to your personal information and on how to contact us and supervisory authorities in the event you have an enquiry or complaint.

1. Introduction

  1. The Motor Ombudsman Limited collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you. When we do so we are regulated under data protection laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’) which applies across the European Union (including in the United Kingdom) and Data Protection Act 2018.
  2. This site,‘the Website’) is owned and operated by The Motor Ombudsman Limited (‘TMO’, ‘the Company’ ‘we’ or ‘us’), UK company registration number 06517394. TMO’s registered office is located at 71 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2BN. TMO is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (the ‘SMMT’), registered number 74359.
  3. Whenever dealing with the Website or liaising with TMO, TMO are the responsible ‘data controller’ in relation to the processing activities described below. This means we decide why and how your personal information is processed. Our entry in the ‘public register of data controllers’ can be seen online on the Information Commissioner’s website.
  4. Should you have any queries or concerns regarding use of your personal information, please contact our Data & Compliance Manager by writing to our address at 71 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2BN, clearly marking your correspondence for the attention of the Data & Compliance Manager, or by e-mail at

We are committed to protecting your privacy and personal information. This Privacy Notice explains how we handle and use information that we obtain from all of the different interactions you have with us as a regulator and business, including when you visit our social media pages, Website or when you contact us and provide us with information or when you subscribe to our newsletter.

2. What is Personal Information?

1. Personal data, or personal information, means any information about a living individual from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed and this will be classified as anonymous data. Some examples of personal information include: name, location data (e.g. IP address) or telephone number
2. Personal information relating to special categories of data, including race, ethnic origin, politics, religion, trade union membership, genetics, biometrics (where used for ID purposes), health, sex life or sexual orientation will be classified as ‘sensitive personal data’. The law imposes higher standards of protection on those who process special category data as it is more sensitive.
3. You can at any time submit a written request to the Data & Compliance Manager at the Company for a copy of the personal data held about you. For further information please see section below ‘Your rights in relation to your personal information’.
4. By submitting personal information to us via this Website, you acknowledge that the information will be processed by TMO in the manner and for the purposes described in the following paragraphs.

3. The personal information we collect and use

In the course of providing an Ombudsman Service, we receive personal information about you that you give to us, that we collect from your visits to our Website, social media pages and that we obtain from other sources. We only collect personal information which we need and that is relevant for the purposes for which we intend to use it. Outlined below are the points of data collection, the data we collect and why we collect this data.


3.1 Personal information that you give to us

We collect the following information if you choose to give it to us in connection with your registration on our Website, including when you submit an enquiry or complaint and seek to use our Ombudsman Service, access our social media pages, when exercising your legal rights or when you otherwise choose to contact us, for example, when you sign up to ‘rate a garage’:

  • Where you submit an enquiry or complaint your name, e-mail address, telephone number or other contact information, vehicle registration number and any other personal information you choose to submit regarding your complaint;
  • The opinions and other information you provide when responding to customer surveys and/ or questionnaires;
  • Any information you include in correspondence you send to us or in forms you submit to us when using our Website or social media pages;
  • Any information you provide to us via telephone;
  • Any additional sensitive personal data that you choose to share with us for example when contacting us in relation to a complaint surrounding a third party in connection with our Ombudsman Services, either via our Website, email or by telephone;
  • Where you sign up to ‘rate a garage’ through our Website, your name, e-mail address, telephone number or other contact information and invoice information will be collected;
  • Where you are a subscriber accessing our services, your name, e-mail address, telephone number or other contact information and business information including your business name and job title will be collected.


3.2 Information that we collect about you

When you visit our Website we automatically collect:

  • the internet protocol (IP) address of your device and details regarding the type of device and browser software you use to access the Website;
  • details of your use of our Website, namely traffic data, weblogs and statistical data, including where and when you clicked on certain parts of our Website, including which of our services you have viewed, and details of the webpage from which you visited it;
  • cookie, pixels and beacon identification information (for more information please see Cookies section below);
  • your unique login information and complaint history (where you have created an account with us).
  • When you visit our social media pages we collect:
  • the information you post on those pages;
  • information regarding your interactions with the content we post; and
  • statistical information regarding all our followers’ activities (but from which we cannot identify you as we only have access to this information in aggregated form).


4.  How we use your personal information?

We process your personal information for a number of reasons. We will always ensure we have a valid legal ground process your personal information, depending on the purposes of our use and the risks to your privacy.

We use your personal information in the following ways:


We use and process your personal information for the following purposes where you have consented for us to do so:

  • to contact you via email or SMS (as you have indicated) with marketing information about our products and services (see Marketing for further details);

You can withdraw your consent for us to use your information in any of these ways at any time. Please see Your rights over your personal information for further details.


We will use your personal information to comply with our legal obligations:

  • to keep a record relating the exercise of any of your rights relating to our processing of your personal information;
  • to meet legal, regulatory and compliance requirements, including those imposed upon TMO by virtue of our capacity as an Ombudsman Service provider;
  • to handle and resolve any complaints we receive relating to the Ombudsman Services we provide.


4.3 Where necessary for us to pursue a LEGITIMATE INTEREST

We use and process your personal information where it is necessary for us to pursue our legitimate interests as a business for the following purposes:

To promote our business, brands and products and measure the reach and effectiveness of TMO’s services and campaigns:

  • for analysis and insight conducted to enhance and your visitor experience;
  • to identify and record when you have received, opened or engaged with our website or electronic communications (please see The Motor Ombudsman’s Cookies Notice for more information);
  • to respond to correspondence you send to us and fulfil the requests you make to us;
  • to respond to changing market conditions and the needs of our visitors to our Website;
  • to analyse, evaluate and improve our services so that your visit and use of our Website and social media pages are more useful and enjoyable (we will generally use data amalgamated from many people so that it does not identify you personally);
  • for service development purposes.


To operate the administrative and technical aspects of our business efficiently and effectively

  • to process any of your complaints regarding a third party business and where we will be assisting you by way of Ombudsman Services through our Website;
  • to administer our Website and our social media pages and for internal operations, including troubleshooting, testing, statistical purposes;
  • for the prevention of fraud and other criminal activities;
  • to verify the accuracy of data that we hold about you and create a better understanding of you as an account holder or visitor;
  • for network and information security in order for us to take steps to protect your information against loss or damage, theft or unauthorised access;
  • to comply with a request from you in connection with the exercise of your rights (for example where you have asked us not to contact you for marketing purposes, we will keep a record of this on our suppression lists in order to be able to comply with your request);
  • for the purposes of corporate restructure or reorganisation or sale of our business or assets;
  • for efficiency, accuracy or other improvements of our databases and systems, for example, by combining systems or consolidating records we hold about you;
  • to enforce or protect our contractual or other legal rights or to bring or defend legal proceedings;
  • to inform you of updates to our terms and conditions and policies; and
  • for other general administration including managing your queries, complaints, or claims, and to send service messages to you.

    4.4 Where necessary for us to carry out PRE-CONTRACTUAL STEPS you have requested or for the performance of our CONTRACT

We will use your personal information where this is necessary for us to perform our contract with you or to carry out any pre-contract steps you’ve asked us to so that you can enter into that contract, for the following purposes:

  • to run our competitions and promotions that you enter from time to time and to notify you in the event that you are successful and to distribute prizes;
  • where you are a TMO Code-accredited business who has signed up to our newsletter, to process your registration and administer your business’s accreditation to the Motor Industry Codes of Practice for Vehicle Sales, Service and Repair, New Cars or Vehicle Warranty Products (‘the Codes’).


4.5 Where processing is in your VITAL INTERESTS

We will use your personal information where this is in your vital interest for the following purposes:

  • to notify you of any product recall issues.

5. Marketing

If your business is a TMO Code-accredited business, we use your personal information for direct marketing purposes on the basis that it is necessary for us to pursue our legitimate interests as a business (see above in this section for further details). This includes any marketing, publicity or advertising purposes connected with promoting the Codes and the Website and to send you information about other Company or administrative party products or services (‘Marketing Information’). We try to tailor and personalise any marketing communications that we send to you, for example, by notifying you of services, offers or promotions that apply to your interests, or location.

During the registration process or at any point where personal information is collected by us about you, you will be asked to indicate your preference regarding the Company and those parties involved in the administration of the Codes sending you Marketing Information. If you do not wish to receive Marketing Information from us, you can opt-out at any time by using the unsubscribe link inside the email or code within the SMS (to unsubscribe from marketing emails or SMS messages) or alternatively you are free at any time to amend your preference by doing one of the following:

  • email us at and we will amend your preference for you;
  • tick the relevant preference box where provided on communications that we send you or on the Subscriber registration page of the Website before confirming your registration;
  • contact us on 0345 241 3008 (press option 2); or
  • Write to us at The Motor Ombudsman Ltd, 71 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2BN (confirming your subscriber number where relevant).

IMPORTANT: If you opt-out of receiving marketing communications from us, we keep your email address on our suppression list for a defined period to ensure that we comply with your wishes. Please see further information under ‘The periods for which we retain your personal information’.

6. Sharing Personal information with Third Parties

We only disclose your personal information outside our business in limited circumstances. If we do, we will put in place a contract that requires recipients to protect your personal information, unless we are legally required to share that information. Any contractors or recipients that work for us will be obliged to follow our instructions. We do not sell your personal information to third parties.

6.1 Suppliers

We disclose your information to our third party service providers, agents and subcontractors (Suppliers) for the purposes of providing services to us or directly to you on our behalf, including the operation and maintenance of our Website and social media pages.

Our Suppliers can be categorised as follows:

Recipient / relationship to us Industry sector

(& sub-sector)

Cloud software system providers, including database, email and document management providers IT (Cloud Services) EEA
Advertising, PR, digital and creative agencies Media (Advertising & PR) EEA
Mailing services providers Logistics (Delivery Service) EEA
Facilities and technology service providers including scanning and data destruction providers IT (Data Management) EEA
Insurers and insurance brokers Insurance (Underwriting & Broking) EEA
Legal, security and other professional advisers and consultants Professional Services (Legal & Accounting) EEA
Organisations specialising in the audit of the performance and verification of TMO’s accredited businesses Automotive (Verification and Audit Service) EEA
Website and data analytics platform providers IT (Data Analytics) EEA
                                                                                                                  Website hosting services providers IT (Hosting) EEA


6.2 Disclosure to third parties in connection with Ombudsman Services

Where we are providing Ombudsman Services including where you have submitted an enquiry, complaint, your personal information will be passed to the below third parties in order for us to provide the Ombudsman Services. This will include all details surrounding the complaint, including any personal information you provide us. These third parties are:

  1. The business/subscriber(s) against whom your complaint has been raised, to enable the third party company to comprehensively investigate and respond and enable us to fully investigate and adjudicate your complaint;

2. Any party involved in the administration of the Codes, including:

  • the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT);
  • the Code’s Consumer Adjudication and Ombudsman Service;
  • the Ombudsman Association;
  • the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS)
  • the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards (CTSI); and
  • the Independent Compliance Assessment Panel (ICAP).

If your business is a Code Subscriber, we will disclose any personal information you have provided us to sponsors of Code promotions and marketing campaigns, automotive media organisations and advertisers and other supporters of the Codes, as approved by us, who wish to promote their products and services to you. You can notify us at any time if you do not want your personal information to be shared in this way and will be given the opportunity to opt out within each and every email or communication we send you from any future promotions.

6.3 Disclosure to third party accredited business in connection with our ‘Online Reviews’ service

Where you leave an online review about your experience at one of our accredited businesses, either by completing the ‘Service and Repair’ survey or ‘Vehicle Sales’ survey, we will give you the opportunity to consent to your personal information, including your name, email address and telephone number and details of your review to be passed onto the relevant third party. Should you provide your consent to the sharing of this information, we will disclose the same to the relevant third party business.

6.4 Other third parties

We disclose the personal information to other third parties as follows:

  • any third party who is restructuring, selling or acquiring some or all of our business or assets or otherwise in the event of a merger, re-organisation or similar event;
  • if we are under a duty to disclose or share your information in order to comply with any legal or regulatory obligation or request, including by the police, courts, tribunals or regulators;
  • in relation to information from our accredited businesses, we share this information with our parent company, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited, for auditing and administration purposes.

Your personal information will not be passed to any third party other than as stated in this Privacy Notice without first obtaining your consent.

7. Aggregate Data

We aggregate personal information collected during the registration process and use this together with the information collected via the use of ‘cookies’ to track data such as the total number of visits to the Website, visitors to each page of the Website, and the domain names of our visitors’ internet service providers. Third parties will be used to assist TMO with the aggregation process and the analysis of subsequent data obtained. We use this information, which remains in aggregate form, to improve and understand how our visitors use the Website. No personal information is disclosed in this process.

8. Cookies

TMO will place a ‘cookie’ on your computer’s browser. Cookies are small text files, which provide us with information about how often someone visits the Website, and what they do during those visits. Cookies do not themselves collect any personal information but if you provide such information to the Website, for example by registering as a Code Subscriber, it will be linked to the data stored in the cookie. Where such data is used to produce aggregated data, no personal information is disclosed in this process. You have the ability to decline cookies, if you wish, by modifying the settings of your Internet browser. Please refer to the The Motor Ombudsman Cookies Notice for more information.

9. Use of IP Addresses

An Internet Protocol (IP) Address is a set of numbers that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you log onto your internet service provider or through your organisation’s local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN). Web servers automatically identify your computer by the IP address assigned to it during your session. TMO collects IP addresses for the purposes of systems administration and to audit the use of the Website. We do not ordinarily link a user’s IP address to personally identifiable information of that user. Each user’s session will be logged, but the user remains anonymous. However, we can use IP addresses to identify users of the Website when we feel it is necessary to enforce compliance with the Website’s terms of use, or to protect our service, the Website or other users.

10. Security and links to other websites

We take the security of your personal information seriously and use a variety of measures based on good industry practice to keep it secure, further detailed below. Nonetheless, transmissions over the internet and to our Website may not be completely secure, so please exercise caution. When accessing links to other websites, their privacy policies, not ours, will apply to your personal information.

The Company employs secure data networks protected by industry standard firewall and password protection. We employ security measures to protect the personal information you provide to us, to prevent access by unauthorised persons and unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction and damage. When we have provided (or you have chosen) a password or pin allowing you access to certain parts of the Website, you are responsible for safeguarding it and keeping it confidential and you promise not to allow it to be used by third parties. Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do everything possible to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of any personal information during its transmission to us online. You accept the inherent security implications of using the internet and will not hold us responsible for any breach of security unless we are at fault.

Our Website and social media pages contain links to other websites run by other organisations which we do not control. This policy does not apply to those other websites‚ so we encourage you to read their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the privacy policies and practices of other websites (even if you access them using links that we provide) and we provide links to those websites solely for your information and convenience.  We specifically disclaim responsibility for their content, privacy practices and terms of use, and we make no endorsements, representations or promises about their accuracy, content or thoroughness. Your disclosure of personal information to third party websites is at your own risk.

In addition, if you linked to our Website from a third party website, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners and operators of that third party website and recommend that you check the policy of that third party website.

We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality. All TMO employees who have access to personal information have been trained to handle such data properly and in accordance with our security protocols and strict standards of confidentiality. Any physical personal information transmittal will be in an industry standard, secure and encrypted form. Although we cannot guarantee against any loss, misuse, unauthorised disclosure, alteration or destruction of data, we try to prevent such unfortunate occurrences.

11. The periods for which we retain your personal information

We will not hold your personal information in an identifiable format for any longer than is necessary for the purposes for which we collected it. For certain purposes we retain your personal information for a very short period, such as call recordings that we keep for 12 months whilst for others we retain it for a period of 6 years after the information is no longer required for business reasons so that we can deal with any legal proceedings that could arise, sometimes longer should any of the exceptions mentioned below apply.


Type of personal information When do we receive your personal information? How long do we keep your personal information after we receive it?
Details regarding when you have consented to receiving marketing from us When you complete the consent form 6 years from the date you complete the form.
Social media handles When you follow our social media account or page Until you stop following our social media account or page.
Your vehicle registration when you register with us to ‘rate a garage’ When we receive your online review via our Website to ‘rate a garage’ and you provide your vehicle registration details 6 years
Opinions /other information you give  via feedback surveys When you submit your completed survey online 6 years
Information you give to us when entering a competition When we receive your completed entry form 6 years, except for the entries themselves which may be kept indefinitely depending on the material provided.
IP addresses and type of device When you use any of our Website 6 years from the date of collection.
Telephone call recordings From when your call is answered by TMO’s team until the call ends 12 months from the end of the call
Original documents From when TMO acknowledges receipt of your documents 3 months
Full case file including emails, documents and other information From when TMO first opens your case file 6 years from closing the case file


The exceptions to the periods mentioned above are where:

  • you exercise your right to have the information erased (where it applies) and we do not need to hold it in connection with any of the reasons permitted or required under the law (see further Your rights in relation to your personal information);
  • you exercise your right to require us to retain your personal information for a period longer than our stated retention period (see further Your rights in relation to your personal information);
  • we bring or defend a legal claim or other proceedings during the period we retain your personal information, in which case we will retain your personal information until those proceedings have concluded and no further appeals are possible;
  • we archive the information to our business-critical back-ups, in which case we will delete it in accordance with our deletion cycle and information will usually be permanently deleted after 10 years; or
  • in limited cases, existing or future law or a court or regulator requires us to keep your personal information for a longer or shorter period.

12. Your rights in relation to your personal information

You have a number of rights in relation to your personal information under data protection law. In relation to certain rights, we will ask you for information to verify your identity and, where applicable, to help us to search for your personal information. Except in rare cases, we will respond to you within 30 days after we have received this information or, where no such information is required, after we have received full details of your request.

You have the following rights, some of which will only apply in certain circumstances:

to be informed about the processing of your personal information (this is what this statement sets out to do);

to have your personal information corrected if it is inaccurate and to have incomplete personal information completed;
i)  The accuracy of your information is important to us and we are working on ways to make it easier for you to review and correct the information that we hold about you.  In the meantime, if you change your name or address/email address, or you discover that any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, please let us know by contacting us in any of the details described at the end of this policy.

to object to processing of your personal information;
i)  Where we rely on our legitimate interests as the legal basis for processing your personal information for particular purposes, you can object to us using your personal information for these purposes by emailing or writing to us at the address at the end of this policy. Except for the purposes for which we are sure we can continue to process your personal information, we will temporarily stop processing your personal information in line with your objection until we have investigated the matter. If we agree that your objection is justified in accordance with your rights under data protection laws, we will permanently stop using your data for those purposes. Otherwise we will provide you with our justification as to why we need to continue using your data. You can object to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes and we will automatically comply with your request. If you would like to do so, please use our unsubscribe tool.

to withdraw your consent to processing your personal information;
i) Where we rely on your consent as the legal basis for processing your personal information, you are able to withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us using the details at the end of this policy.  If you would like to withdraw your consent to receiving any direct marketing to which you previously opted-in, you can also do so using our unsubscribe tool. If you withdraw your consent, our use of your personal information before you withdraw is still lawful.

to restrict processing of your personal information;
i) You can ask us to restrict the processing your personal information in the following situations:

where you believe it is unlawful for us to do so,

you have objected to its use and our investigation is pending or you require us to keep it in connection with legal proceedings.

In these situations, we will only process your personal information whilst its processing is restricted if we have your consent or are legally permitted to do so, for example for storage purposes, to protect the rights of another individual or company or in connection with legal proceedings.

to have your personal information erased;
i)  In certain circumstances, you can ask for your personal information to be removed from our systems by emailing or writing to us at the address at the end of this policy. Unless there is a reason that the law allows us to use your personal information for longer, we will make reasonable efforts to comply with your request.

to request access to your personal information and information about how we process it;
i) You have the right to ask for a copy of the information that we hold about you by emailing or writing to us at the address at the end of this policy.  We will not provide you with a copy of your personal information if this concerns other individuals or we have another lawful reason to withhold that information.

to electronically move, copy or transfer your personal information in a standard, machine-readable form;
i) You have the right to ask for a copy of the information that we hold about you by emailing or writing to us at the address at the end of this policy.  We will not provide you with a copy of your personal information if this concerns other individuals or we have another lawful reason to withhold that information.


rights relating to automated decision making, including profiling.
i) You can also contest a decision made about you based purely on automated processing by emailing or writing to us at the address at the end of this policy.


If you would like to exercise any of those rights, please:

email, call or write to us or our Data Protection Officer, see section 16 below

let us have enough information to identify you (e.g. complaint number, name, contact information)

In order to verify your identity, we will request further documentation (for example, a copy of your driving licence or passport and a recent utility or credit card bill). We may also contact you regarding any requests to ask for further information as to the nature and scope of your request, for example, whether it relates to a specific complaint or reference number.

You have the right to lodge a complaint with a data protection regulator in Europe, in particular in a country you work or live or where your legal rights have been infringed.  The contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’), the data protection regulator in the UK, are available on the ICO website, where your personal information has or is being used in a way that you believe does not comply with data protection laws, however, we encourage you to contact us before making any complaint and we will seek to resolve any issues or concerns you have.

13. Changes to this privacy notice

Please check this page regularly for changes to this notice. This privacy notice was last updated on 14 September 2018.

Any changes to this privacy notice/policy will be communicated promptly on this page, and in accordance with the preceding Terms of Use. You are deemed to have acknowledged any changes by continuing to use this Website and (if relevant) your registration as a Code Subscriber. We recommend you regularly check this page for changes and review this policy each time you visit our Website.

14. Transfer of Personal information outside of the EEA

Neither TMO nor any of the parties involved in the administration of the Code transfers personal information outside of the European Economic Area. Visitors are advised to note that if you are visiting the Website from a country other than the country in which our server is located (currently the United Kingdom), the various communications will necessarily result in the transfer of information across international boundaries.

15.   How to contact us

To contact us in relation to this privacy notice, including to exercise any of your rights in relation to your personal information, please contact our Data Protection Officer by post at The Motor Ombudsman Ltd, 71 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2BN, by phone 0345 241 3008 (press option 2) or by email at

For anything else, including consumer queries, press and media queries or business accreditation queries, please see the ‘Contact Us’ section of our Website for the relevant contact details.


Last updated: 26/11/2021