Independent used car dealer Carbase has informed customers it has changed its sales process and approach to finance sales in the wake of FCA consumer credit regulations.
The Somerset-based company, which operates dealerships in Weston-Super-Mare, Lympsham and Brent Knoll, now provides a fixed financial offering and has made this standard across the group, meaning all customers are offered the same product at the same price with no fluctuation.
Gordon Veale, general manager at the car dealer, said: “Our methodology for the sales process has had to evolve, which ties in with Carbase's ethos of the customers' experience being paramount."
"To treat customers fairly we now ask affordability questions, which we didn't do prior to this, to make sure the products we offer to the customer are suitable for what they want, affordable and sold in the correct way. For example if a customer wants to keep a car for three years, we will no longer offer five-year finance because it's affordable, so we'll aim to offer an alternative and more suitable product."
Every piece of documentation is explained to the customer, who is then asked to sign it to
He said the company has taken on extra resources to ensure it remains compliant with FCA compliance, however he sees it as a positive change for Carbase.
Staff have also undergone extra training so that they are able to explain the products they sell in greater detail than before. Certain regulated products are sold by business managers only, as they have an increased level of training and are therefore more knowledgeable about these products.
"I think we were already very much customer-focused, and the FCA regulations have reinforced this," Gordon states. "It's certainly helped us refocus on what we try to do for our customers, and once again put them firmly at the centre of what we do in every way."
The car dealer has added more detail to its website, including videos, which help customers make informed choices.
"We do a significant amount more research into the products we offer," Veale said. "Once again if a customer says they'll keep the car for two years we would not offer them a three-year warranty. We'll instead discuss warranty options, up to and including two years, so there are no problems outstanding at the end of their term of ownership of the vehicle.
"Equally, all the products we now sell are based on lifestyle payments; customers therefore have the option of paying by direct debit or in total, upfront. In the old days, you could buy a three-year warranty, keep the car two years and there'd be no refund available. That's no longer the case."