RAC Cars News


New Consumer Ombudsman Service Dedicated To Car Problems

By raccars Published

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UK car owners now have access to a new consumer ombudsman service, set up to handle their complaints about the second hand car market and repairs and servicing issues. The new service gives consumers a recourse when other forms of negotiation have left them dissatisfied. Previously, consumers who have felt unfairly treated by retailers have had no other option but to pursue an expensive case through the small claims court.

Any complaints about the auto market can be taken to the new ombudsman but the service will focus upon second hand vehicles and auto repairs and servicing. The service is web based and will handle big and small problems and could have been useful for some of the 66 million consumer complaints about products and services, which were made last year.

The new facility is run by Ombudsman Services, after research suggested that a number of consumer complaints are never pursued as people are daunted by the cumbersome process. Later this year, the car focused ombudsman will be joined by an updated Consumer Rights Act, to help consumers buy with confidence. The ombudsman service means that consumers will be able to pursue their complaints in a quick and simple way, without worrying about having to pay legal bills or face lengthy court proceedings. However, firms are under no obligation to sign up to the service and the organisation has no jurisdiction over companies which are not part of the scheme. The advantage to businesses is that membership should give consumers confidence.

Ombudsman services have been available to other sectors for some time. The website includes a guide to help you formulate your complaint and explain what procedures you can follow. The organisation was founded in 2002, to give consumers an impartial and independent way to resolve disputes. Its services are subject to government regulation and are free for consumers. Car complaints can be brought for vehicles bought since 1 January this year.

The new ombudsman will be able to step in to handle complaints on the consumer's behalf if a business has been given a reasonable amount of time - up to eight weeks - to resolve an issue but have failed to do so. If the ombudsman finds the business is at fault, methods of resolution include compensation and an apology, and the ombudsman's decision is legally binding. If no resolution can be reached, the ombudsman will advise you on your follow up options.

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