Applications from independent garages to join The Motor Ombudsman more than double during first quarter

  • Volume of independent garages joining The Motor Ombudsman rises 107% during Q1 compared to the same period a year earlier
  • Businesses signing up for added credibility in the marketplace and to provide reassurance to customer base of superior operating standards
  • Since the start of the year, 15,000 contacts from consumers and businesses have been recorded, resulting in nearly 1,000 new cases

The Motor Ombudsman, the automotive dispute resolution provider, has seen the volume of independent garages renewing or applying for first-time accreditation to one of its CTSI-approved Codes of Practice more than double throughout the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

The notable 107% increase during the first three months of this year comes as a greater number of businesses recognise being signed up to The Motor Ombudsman as providing added credibility in the marketplace and all-important peace of mind for customers that they are operating to the highest level of service and workmanship. Furthermore, garages benefit from the privilege of being able to display trusted Motor Ombudsman branding, as well as unlimited access to the organisation’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service and Information Line.

Most of the independent garages who have joined or renewed since the turn of 2018 are accredited to the Service and Repair Code of Practice, with the remainder being used car outlets who have committed to its Vehicle Sales Code. All businesses across the UK who adhere to either or both of these two Codes are listed on The Motor Ombudsman’s popular online Garage Finder, an effective marketing tool to help with the generation of potential customer leads and footfall.

With raised awareness of The Motor Ombudsman amongst consumers and businesses compared to a year ago, the organisation’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service has equally witnessed a 53% uplift in the amount of contacts received between January and March relative to the first quarter of 2017. Of the 15,000 contacts recorded, nearly 1,000 cases were raised for adjudication, with almost 10% requiring a final decision from the in-house ombudsman.

Vehicle Sales Code breaches were the source of the majority of disputes (48%), with 63% of contacts relating to the Code arising from an issue with the quality of a car at the time of purchase. Service and repair complaints made up 22% of overall contacts received, with the standard of work making up the highest proportion (46%) of the reported issues. A further 23% were the result of garage staff not fully explaining the work required during the booking process or offering to put information in writing.

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “It’s been a very busy start to 2018 as our role in the automotive industry becomes ever more established and well-known amongst consumers and in the motor trade. Whilst franchised dealers account for the bulk of our Service and Repair and Vehicle Sales Code accreditations, we are now seeing even more independent sites recognising the value of Motor Ombudsman accreditation as a way of standing out from the crowd in what is a hard-fought sector.”

Bill added: “Having a seal of approval from an organisation such as ours gives today’s motorists the reassurance that the garage will deliver exemplary standards, and that there is an impartial ADR provider to go to should something go wrong. This could make all the difference between winning custom and losing it to another business in the local area.”