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Record number of vehicle maintenance disputes

By autotech-nath on June 8, 2024

The Motor Ombudsman has recorded the highest ever volume of service and repair cases brought by consumers to its dispute resolution service in a single quarter.

Between 1st January and 31st March this year, 1,604 new cases about routine and ad hoc maintenance conducted by repairers, were logged by motorists under The Motor Ombudsman’s Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair. This equates to a 35% rise versus the opening three months of 2023. Similarly, 24,000 phone calls from consumers were received during the same period – an increase of 56% compared to January to March 2023.

The body believes that the significant year-on-year jump in demand is likely a reflection of the financial pressures on consumers from the heightened cost of living and using its Alternative Dispute Resolution service to recoup losses after encountering an issue with their vehicle.

When looking into the service and repair complaints brought to The Motor Ombudsman since the beginning of 2024, just over a third (37%) related to the drivetrain area of a car, transmission, fuel and exhaust systems. Concerns were raised by vehicle owners about the standard of work carried out by repairers, such as fuel injectors not being calibrated correctly, and overtightened oil sump pan drain plugs stripping threads. In addition, complaints in this category stemmed from, amongst other factors, the premature and repeated failures of components, and gearboxes being reset without prior customer approval.

The standard of customer service delivered by businesses to consumers during a routine service or ad hoc remedial work accounted for the second highest proportion (27%) of service and repair disputes raised, with complaints of component supply problems delaying repairs, workshops not having the necessary tools to complete the required work, and the use of non-genuine parts causing recurring faults.

Commenting on the latest data, Bill Fennell, Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Routine and ad hoc maintenance is a vital part of running a car, and when something goes wrong, this can be a source of frustration and inconvenience for motorists, whilst they may also incur added expense if their vehicle is off the road for a prolonged period. Coupled with an economic backdrop where consumers are facing added strains on their finances, this has resulted in even greater demand by consumers for our-free-of-charge dispute resolution service to pursue remedies for the issues they have encountered.” www.TheMotorOmbudsman.org

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