I'm well aware that the Consumer Rights Act is on occasion seen by some in motor retailing as a 'thorny issue.' However, I want to highlight why it and Section 75 protection offered to consumers taking out a regulated finance case can also be seen as a great sales tool and another way of demonstrating a dealer's customer-centric culture.
Reading through the Money section of one of the heavyweight Sunday papers, I saw a consumer champion article centred upon a consumer who had purchased a car using their savings. The car, costing £16,000, was purchased privately after the buyer had undertaken what they thought were the appropriate provenance checks. Sadly, the car had been cloned.
The journalist's response noted that insurers recommend that buyers use established dealers when buying a car. Sadly, they did not explain why. However, in the trade, I'm sure we all know the answer; the Consumer Right Act and, for regulated finance agreements, the Consumer Credit Act.
For me, these two areas of protection can provide a compelling case for car buyers to choose to buy from a dealer if only they knew the protection was on offer. To illustrate this, the AA website has a section called; Your rights depend on where you buy your car, it notes;
"Dealers are generally the safest route to a new car – maximum legal protection with the least risk."
Given that the two areas of consumer protection I have referenced are not optional for a dealer selling to consumers, are they a promotional opportunity rather than a threat? Would hiding these protections in plain sight' in promotional activities speak volumes for the quality of a dealer's cars and commitment to customers care? Do they add value to a dealer's proposition and commitment to transparency?
I think they do and arguably, such transparency also demonstrates alignment with the FCA's proposed Consumer Duty. I hope this provides some food for thought.
Debbie McKay, Head of Motor Major Accounts