Last month, we took a look at The Motor Ombudsman’s Service and Repair Code, and for March, we are casting the spotlight on their Vehicle Sales Code.

It’s been a busy start to the year for The Motor Ombudsman. Out of the 10,000 contacts that have been received from garages and consumers by the body’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service during January and February 2018, issues relating to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Sales (also referred to as the Vehicle Sales Code) have accounted for nearly 50% of these.

The Vehicle Sales Code was launched in September 2016, and was the first to encompass both the sale of new and used cars. It was introduced in response to the growing number of enquiries received from car buyers since the arrival of the Consumer Rights Act and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) legislation in 2015. Any garage selling vehicles in the UK that meets The Motor Ombudsman’s assessment criteria, can be accredited to the Code, and all business who have signed up voluntarily to the Code are listed on the popular online Garage Finder.

The Code of Practice covers nine different areas. These include the use of transparent wording for adverts and pricing, providing clear invoices to customers, and that the sale of a used car is supported by a vehicle provenance check to ensure that it has not been stolen or written-off, and that it’s free of any outstanding finance. It also highlights that retailers should provide test drives, avoid high-pressure selling techniques, supply accurate advice on warranty and finance products, and deliver a vehicle with a full handover, complete with all historic documentation, the entire service history and a valid MOT certificate for a second-hand model.

Furthermore, as part of the Code, accredited businesses commit to resolving any problems quickly and fairly should a dispute arise with a customer in relation to the sales process. If a business and consumer are unable to conclude the complaint between themselves, which is always the first point of call, the business is able to refer the dispute to The Motor Ombudsman, a CTSI-certified and fully impartial ADR provider for adjudication, and an Ombudsman’s final decision, if necessary, to help resolve the dispute outside of the courtroom.

To view the latest case studies relating to the Vehicle Sales Code, visit