FCA Regulation is Building Consumer Trust

Recent IMI research highlighted the continuing challenge facing dealers of building trust with consumers. The data indicates that car sales can benefit from the type of regulatory endorsement that sees F&I services as significantly more trustworthy. This is the conclusion from award winning added-value experts AutoProtect.

The recent IMI research provided fascinating reading with 64% of car buyers suggesting they would be happier buying their car from a regulated source. This compared with a far lower 37% of F&I buyers who would value the endorsement of an industry body. This more modest number is probably a reflection of the reassurance provided to consumers from FCA regulation and the required controls that are in place to protect consumers.

notes Mike Macaulay, AutoProtect’s Head of Corporate Sales.

The data published suggests that 60% of those researched purchased F&I services and that 45% reported feeling pressurised into buying add-on products. It is a concerning number and may reflect the wider distrust through the car buying process. It is a statistic that would suggest a serious issue that industry leading supplier AutoProtect simply is not seeing.

We certainly do not want to make light of the issue highlighted by the IMI research, but if the position was as universally severe, we would be very aware of it and the issues of reputational risk that would be associated with it. Simply put it is not a situation we recognise across AutoProtect.

It may be that our processes and controls are more rigorous because we operate our own standalone compliance business, i-Comply online, which maintains close oversight of our business approach and that of many or our NFDA and dealer clients with whom the business is retained.

notes Macaulay, adding;

Training sales personnel on product specifications, features and benefits and promoting them is an open and transparent part of the recommended AutoProtect approach. This training is supported by rigorous audited monitoring, again at sales person level, to ensure a compliant approach. This level of scrutiny is arguably higher for car sales and sadly can sometimes appear intrusive because of the detail required.

As well as its point of sale support, post purchase AutoProtect scrutinises all cancellation activity alongside complaints as part of its learning culture. These remain very low; any suggestion of mis-selling is immediately referred and reviewed with the dealer for appropriate action. Such incidences are very isolated.

There can be no question that we have to continue working to drive up the quality of add-on products, buying experience and aftersales support. Training and monitoring are an ongoing topic for all dealers. After all, losing their FCA regulated status would represent a major body blow for any dealer. As a business, we and our i-Comply online colleagues are committed to ensuring quality through the showroom and post-sale and to protecting both the dealer and their customer. It is a role that we believe is enhancing the wider integrity and trustworthiness of the dealer.

concludes Macaulay.