Customers know that they’re better protected than ever before. Helped by regulation, increased awareness and availability of consumer rights information, today's car buyer often knows their rights. In addition, over the last year, I don't doubt that the need to buy items online ensured more people became aware and confident of their distance buying rights.
Resoundingly, I am of the view that this consumer protection is a good thing for the used car market in which we operate. Yes, I appreciate that from time to time, some people may push the boundaries of what is fair and reasonable, but for the most part, it is a positive.
- The vast majority of dealers do a great job and will bend over backwards to help customers with any post-sale issues that may arise – in an online review world, these dealer’s reputations will have only been enhanced. Conversely, dealers who do not support the consumer will come under pressure.
- Potential disruptors will have fewer reasons to try and undermine a business model that has demonstrated its capacity to meet customers' needs for care and distance selling support over the last year.
- Increased transparency in finance and the Section 75 support to customers from HP/PCP is helping customers to choose dealer finance.
The new FCA rules that came into force in January are another positive change for consumers and dealers alike; the reality that dealers cannot haggle on interest rates is a positive fact. That and the transparency surrounding commission models are positive steps forward, pointing to the importance of the customer experience – both at point of sale and post-sale.
Armed with increased awareness of the consumer protection available to them, car buyers have something extra to add to their car buying equation. Access to a well-reviewed, respected, customer-centric dealer that they can trust has a value.
While for some car buyers, the price is everything, this is not universally true. For a used car, I suspect the trust and service element of the sale can positively impact the price and value. Personally, buying from someone I trust is essential to me. So, let's commit to embracing customer rights and keep working to ensure every customer knows they will love our commitment to outstanding care.
Dave Briggs, Chief Operating Officer