When it comes to dealer finance, complaints are frustrating for all parties. But despite a challenging year, dealer finance-related complaints have stayed at relatively low numbers.

According to recent figures released by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), consumer complaints centred on dealer finance to the Financial Ombudsman Service made up just 3.3% of their workload, the same as unsecured personal loans.

The FOS received nearly half a million enquiries altogether. The most complained-about sectors were Bank Current Accounts, Home Loans and Guarantor Loans, accounting for 28% of the FoS’s total workload.

The other area of note was the modest number of complaints about hire purchase (HP) motor finance, which were slightly lower than for personal loans, despite the additional protection applicable to HP through Section 75 Consumer Credit Act 1974.

MotoNovo Finance said it is very happy with its complaint resolution rate, which exceeds the FOS benchmark. At MotoNovo, 97% of all complaints have been resolved successfully with only 3% ever referred to the Ombudsman.

Reflecting upon the Ombudsman’s report, MotoNovo Finance’s chief operating officer, Dave Briggs, said: “I am very aware that customer complaints and the Financial Ombudsman Service can be a source of frustration for dealers and that invariably dealers are committed to providing great customer service.

“However, in today’s increasingly litigious environment, we must do all we can to improve our processes and communication, engaging with customers to manage their expectations, generate goodwill and pragmatism.”

An earlier FOS report from January reveals the key areas of dealer finance complaints. These were:

  • A car that is faulty or not of satisfactory quality.
  • The car or finance agreement was mis-sold or misdescribed to the customer.
  • Unhappiness with charges that they’ve been asked to pay at the end of the agreement.

Briggs concluded: “The list points to the importance of formal evidenced processes at the point of purchase. Should a complaint arise, addressing the customer’s concerns positively and fairly is always the right thing to do.”