Author: Philip Harmer (pictured), senior partner and international commercial arbitrator at Stormcatcher LLP and head of SCAS. He is a barrister at law, commentator, speaker and author on corporate culture and corporate governance.
"In the spirit of entrepreneurialism and stealing the march on the competition, more and more dealerships are 'taking the game to punters', with a home concierge shopping service.
Taking cars to customers, checking it fits in the garage and test driving it on the school run is the height of customer service and statistically a highly successful sales technique.
But, overzealous, target chasing sales departments are encouraging sales staff to take the customers seven digit card number and conclude an off-premises contracts without playing by the rules or regulations.
The Consumer Contract Regulations dictate the provision of certain information and cancellation rights to consumers by businesses when doing these sort of deals.
Despite the reticence to comply, citing increased bureaucracy from the 'deal prevention officers', inclusion of the required information at Schedule 2 and 3 will likely save much time, money and stress in the long run.
Aside from the incentive of a £5,000 fine for not complying, the documents, which are conveniently pre-drafted and capable of instant adoption using copy and paste, serve as a compliance and governance framework, including:
a) Cancellation and refund of deposits policy - Schedule 3
b) Implementation of the ADR Directive in July – Schedule 2(x)
c) Details of membership to an Industry Code of Conduct – Schedule 3(r)
d) Complaint handling policy Schedule 2(k)
In many respects the regulations are analogous to 'demands and needs' which were the eternal bane of sales departments and auditors alike, viewed as a tick boxing exercise and a necessary evil.
Yet, converse to opinion, using an 'official and legally necessary form' as a tool adds gravitas, builds consumer trust and confidence, and increases satisfaction and sales penetration while reducing complaints and risk."