The Motor Ombudsman (TMO) – Is it “fit for purpose”?

legal updates

It seems TMO never sought to ask that basic question and, by the time the penny finally dropped, the contract with the finance company had taken place more than six years ago

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I’ll start by making it clear that the answer to the above question is likely to be dependant on your own experiences and dealings, but we will nevertheless tell you how TMO dealt with two cases referred to them in respect of two separate matters.

Case 1

A customer complains to TMO who eventually determines that our member had no liability at all. The complainant objects and asks for reconsideration and, after several pregnant pauses at their end, a more senior Ombudsman overrules his colleague and finds against our member for reasons that we demolished one by one. Our principal objection was the case should never have been considered by TMO in the first place as the car was on finance. We arranged a “Teams” meeting with the dissenting Ombudsman, who had to accept that they never ought to have considered it in the first place, as the complainant ought to have been told right from the outset that any complaint had to have been made to the Financial Ombudsman and not to them. It seems TMO never sought to ask that basic question and, by the time the penny finally dropped, the contract with the finance company had taken place more than six years ago and thus the consumer was denied any legal avenue to claim against anyone.

Case 2

Despite several emails telling them, TMO does not seem to be aware of their own rules, which state that they cannot consider complaints where the redress sought exceeds £10,000. For this case too, TMO has been reminded they have no jurisdiction given that the car, once more, is on finance. TMO must notify their complainant (who has defaulted on the credit agreement) to revert to the Financial Ombudsman as they do agree with the final decision of the finance company involved.

We ask our members to bear the above in mind, should they be approached by TMO when a complaint about them has been received. We wish you well!

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Jason WilliamsLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

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