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The Motor Ombudsman introduces new course on distance car sales

Car buyer completes online purchase

The Motor Ombudsman has added a new module on distance sales to its Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved online training portfolio available to car retailers.

The new web-based course joins The Motor Ombudsman’s existing suite of remote training assets, which focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It said that the latest course has been introduced in response to the growing number of automotive businesses allowing motorists to order, part exchange, finance and purchase a vehicle remotely – particularly via new online retail platforms.

Citizens Advice responded to 4,500 complaints from consumers regarding cars bought at a distance during the last financial year, “thereby reinforcing the need for greater staff training as this sales channel continues to evolve”, The Motor Ombudsman said.

Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Buying cars is no longer confined to bricks and mortar premises.

“Therefore, it is important that businesses are fully up to speed with the laws and obligations governing distance contracts and transactions.

“The easy-to-navigate module allows users to go through the essential elements of this sales channel and to come away with sufficient knowledge to feel confident in selling to consumers online or over the phone.”

The new distance selling course is suitable for any organisation in the UK selling new or second-hand cars (regardless of whether they are accredited to The Motor Ombudsman), and takes just 30 minutes to complete.

The tuition covers the following key areas:

  • What a distance sales contract is and the legislation governing it - the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
  • The increased rights of consumers during a distance sale.
  • The obligations to be met by businesses.
  • The significance of a consumer deposit when paying for a car remotely.
  • Case study scenarios to gain an understanding of this sales channel in practice.

The Motor Ombudsman’s distance selling training module culminates with a short test and a downloadable checklist to help businesses to determine whether or not the sale can be classified as one that is at a distance.

In addition, each user will receive a certificate from The Motor Ombudsman plus Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.

A dedicated page on distance sales FAQs has also been added to the Motoring Advice section of The Motor Ombudsman website ( to help consumers become familiar with the implications of them.

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