When researching into car finance, you may have come across the term “ombudsman”. By definition, an ombudsman is a figure of authority who oversees situations of malpractice within business agreements. This is very much relevant to car finance, and today we will be explaining this in further detail.
So, let’s set the scene here. You have bought a car on a finance plan. You have browsed the various vehicle options, you have seen a motor that you are happy with, and you have put into place a suitable finance plan with the dealer. Only problem is, a few months down the line, there is an issue with the car that you hadn’t been informed about. Even worse, when you tell the dealer about the issues you are having with the vehicle – which is now essentially unusable – they will not back down, essentially leaving you in a financial hole, and with no car to boot.
This is where an ombudsman can enter the picture. The largest UK authoritative body for this subject is the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), and their role will be to step in when all other solutions have been exhausted. Bear in mind that if the car is not at 100% capacity but it still runs at a level deemed to be acceptable, then the driver has no case. Only if the vehicle is totally unsuitable for the road would there be a case to answer for. In addition, every compromise possible should be considered and accepted, and there should be clear, written evidence that the dealer has chosen to ignore the problem or deflect the blame and responsibility elsewhere.
Essentially, getting in touch with a car finance ombudsman should be a last resort; the final remaining option for the driver. At that point, the FOS will take a closer look at the situation, analysing it from every angle possible, and if they conclude that, yes, the dealer have mis-sold the car and/or are acting in an unprofessional manner as it pertains to resolving the issue, then the FOS will provide a suitable outcome, often by awarding compensation to the driver or by ensuring that the shady dealer provides the motorist with a sufficient reward, as well as the plan being cancelled, the vehicle being returned, and the driver being in a position to move forward and purchase a new car from a different company, undeterred by the negative experience.
It is always important to be aware of the FOS and how they can help, but they should only be contacted by motorists at times when their circumstances leave them with no other choice, and there is also no guarantee that a driver will get the outcome that they want, depending on the terms and conditions of the agreement that they initially signed up to. Learn more about the role of a car finance ombudsman by visiting their website Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).