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The Motor Ombudsman celebrates fifth anniversary

Bill Fennell, The Motor Ombudsman

The Motor Ombudsman has handled more than 250,000 enquiries and worked on 25,000 cases since it was established five years ago.

Formed shortly after the introduction of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Regulations and the Consumer Rights Act in 2015, The Motor Ombudsman was created to provide a completely free-of-charge, impartial and entirely in-house dispute resolution and ombudsman service dedicated to the automotive sector.

Since launch, The Motor Ombudsman’s four long-established Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Codes of Practice, which provide comprehensive guidelines for businesses on areas spanning vehicle sales to extended warranties and service and repair, have played an integral role in determining the outcomes of more than 25,000 cases.

Bill Fennell (pictured), chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “The last five years has seen our organisation grow and develop in tandem with both the ever-increasing demands placed on our dispute resolution service, and the fast-changing automotive landscape.

“Looking back, I am extremely proud to see just how much we have achieved collectively, and how many consumers and businesses we have assisted through our dispute resolution process. On this important milestone for The Motor Ombudsman, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication, and I look forward to continuing to enjoy further success together with the team.”

With the increasing demand for The Motor Ombudsman’s service, the entire organisation has also evolved since its inception to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of consumers and its UK-wide accredited business network.

With full-year annual enquiries from motorists more than doubling (from nearly 39,000 in 2017 to over 87,000 in 2021), and the yearly caseload being worked on increasing three-fold (from around 2,200 in 2017 to almost 7,300 in 2021), The Motor Ombudsman has, similarly, tripled the size of its team during the last five years, and grown the scope of its dispute resolution service through the introduction of mediation and an expanded early resolution stage. This is to allow disputes to be concluded more quickly outside of The Motor Ombudsman’s adjudication case management process.

The Motor Ombudsman’s website sports a new refreshed look from today (November 1) and has been continually enhanced during the last five years, with the addition of further resources and greater user functionality. This has included the launch of a Covid-19 Business Support Hub to bring guidance and government announcements together on to a single portal, and the unveiling of a Knowledge Base, which offers short Q&As on topics ranging from vehicle ownership to dispute resolution, articles which have collectively seen more than 640,000 views.

Its Garage Finder, which lists the profiles of all businesses across the UK that are accredited to its Service and Repair, and Vehicle Sales Codes, has also been upgraded, recording 1.7 million user searches since 2016.

Fennell added: “As we now turn our attention to the next five years, we will be focusing on further improving the consumer perception of the automotive sector by helping businesses identify opportunities to increase their service standards, as well as assisting businesses and consumers to resolve any complaints through the use of The Motor Ombudsman’s fair and impartial dispute resolution service.”

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