The omni-channel approach and distance sales

legal updates

The conclusion of a contract when purchasing a vehicle occurs when a deposit or the full purchase price is paid.

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The future of vehicle sales is moving towards omni-channel as customers seek convenience.

Most, if not all, of the vehicle buying process can be completed remotely. The omni-channel retail approach is proving attractive for the customer but, what is it, and is it attractive for you as the motor trader?

Omni-channeling combines online and physical steps which can lead to a vehicle sale, with some or all steps completed away from the forecourt.

A motor vehicle is often the second most significant purchase a person makes in their lifetime and, much like house-hunting, a substantial percentage of the vehicle search process begins online. While it may bring the trader within the distance selling parameters, providing the customer the ability to search, customise, and finalise their purchases away from the forecourt can be advantageous.

Imagine starting your day, having only managed to make yourself a coffee, to find that while you were sleeping, several customers have booked test drives, paid reservation fees, paid deposits, and some vehicles have been sold and are waiting to be delivered to their new homes.  

Utilising an omni-channel approach and staying clear of distance selling is still possible. As long as the contract is not concluded before the customer physically looks at the vehicle, distance selling does not apply. The conclusion of a contract when purchasing a vehicle occurs when a deposit (not a reservation fee) or the full purchase price is paid. While there is scope to argue that, where funds have been exchanged and the contract concluded, distance selling regulations do not apply if the trader does not operate an organised distance selling scheme, this will be risky with omni-channeling.

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Octane Finance is the broker of choice for new and used car dealers nationwide. With our uncompromising service levels and our genuine and professional approach, you and your customers can trust us to deliver.

Natalia KepinskaTrainee SolicitorRead More by this author

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