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Motor Ombudsman urges consumers to 'do their homework'


Motorists are being urged to do their homework when it comes to their ideal car and retailer ahead of the new '67-registration plate change on September 1.

Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “In-depth research is critical when it comes to buying a new car as it’s a significant purchase.

"It’s therefore essential that the vehicle itself ticks all the boxes, and it’s just as vital that consumers have the confidence that the retailer will provide them with the highest level of service and quality during the purchase process and beyond.”

The Motor Ombusdsman has compiled the following top tips to guide motorists through the new car purchase process.

Shape your future

The Motor Ombudsman usrges customers to research what kind of car they need before heading to the showroom, paying attention to whether a car powered by petrol, diesel or an electric motor, or is even a combination of both will suit their needs.

Do your homework

In the digital age, the internet makes it simple to compare and see first-hand customer feedback about a car or a retailer. The Motor Ombuidsman suggests reading and watching road tests to get an idea of what a make or model is like before shopping around to find out what you can get the best deal.

Look for the extras

When buying a new car, there are often added incentives to lower the initial cost of ownership. This can come in the form of free servicing for a specified period or a vehicle warranty which can be for as much as seven years. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to understand the price of an intermediate and full service, as well as that for tyres and brake pads.

Know the charge

With electric vehicles fast gaining popularity, there are different factors to take into consideration compared to when buying a petrol or diesel-powered car. The advise sughgests customers should consider what range is covered between charges, where the main charging points are along your regular routes, in addition to what the cost is to replenish the battery from empty, and how long it takes.

Try before you buy

Being at the wheel is an ideal chance to gauge the level of comfort, visibility and space, and how intuitive the built-in technology is, such as the infotainment and satellite navigation systems.

Money matters

There are many different ways to buy a car, this can vary from paying outright, to opting for a personal contract purchase (PCP), hire purchase or leasing through the Motability Scheme if you qualify. Ultimately, you need to ensure that the car falls within your budget and any monthly payments will be affordable throughout the term of any finance contract. 

Check the delivery

On the day of collection, take the time to have a walk around the car before leaving the forecourt.

The bodywork should be free of any scratches and scuffs, and the specification should be in-line with what you ordered.

Just as importantly, make sure that you are given all the correct paperwork, including the final invoice, a receipt of any payments, the V5C registration certificate (the logbook), the drive away insurance policy (if it’s been offered by the dealer), plus the handbook and servicing schedule.

The handover is also an opportunity to ask for a refresher on the car’s controls.

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