Chris Trigg MBE has joined the WAS family through his coaching and consultancy firm Crucis Consultants Ltd. Chris comes with an impressive CV highlighting an exemplary military career and success in coaching and mentoring businesses, social enterprises and charity organisations across the East Midlands and East Anglia. As well as working with high growth potential companies, Chris holds a number of non-executive director positions in local companies and is closely associated with the University of Lincoln.
Managing Director Alan Davison says “After working with Chris for the last 12 months the senior management team at WAS are delighted to welcome Chris to the team. We have embarked on an ambitious and exciting 3 year growth plan that Chris helped to map out, so it seems logical to further cement our relationship on a longer term.”
“This will allow us to have a qualified advisor and mentor on the team, and we can also tap into many of the skill sets that Chris holds with particular emphasis in strategic planning, analysis and corporate governance.”
Treating Customers Fairly is without a doubt, the latest “buzz phrase” to be sweeping through most businesses at the moment. But what does it mean? How does it apply to the motor trade, and the aftermarket warranty? Is it not a concept that all businesses subscribe to as a matter of course? After all, if you don’t look after your customers you will soon run out of them, especially in today’s social media driven background.
Although our self-funded warranty is outside the scope of FCA involvement, we have always looked at “best practice”, and ensured we address all of their concerns in our Crystal Clear Warranty.
The aims of the Treating Customers Fairly programme are fully embedded within our core values and, no doubt, yours. But as an audit perhaps we need to identify what the FCA are looking to achieve with the Treating Customers Fairly programme, to confirm we are following best practice.
The Treating Customers Fairly programme aims to “help customers fully understand the features, benefits, risks and costs of the financial products they buy”.
The Crystal Clear Warranty that we offer is the only warranty product in the UK approved by the Plain English Campaign, for the clarity of the wording. We did this to ensure that our warranty was perfectly clear and easy to understand. The features, benefits, risks, and price paid are clearly shown.
The Treating Customers Fairly programme also aims to “minimise the sale of unsuitable products by encouraging best practice before, during and after a sale”.
Having a range of different cover levels allows our to ensure that the right warranty is attached to the right vehicle. Also our free on-site training sessions reinforce the principles of how our warranty not only covers the principles of Treating Customers Fairly, but exceeds them.
What are the desired consumer outcomes of Treating Customers Fairly? The FCA have outlined six core consumer outcomes that it wishes to see as a result of the Treating Customers Fairly initiative. These are:
Outcome 1 – Consumers can be confident that they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is central to the corporate culture.
Outcome 2 – Products and services marketed and sold in the retail market are designed to meet the needs of identified consumer groups and are targeted accordingly.
Outcome 3 – Consumers are provided with clear information and kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale
Outcome 4 – Where consumers receive advice, the advice is suitable and takes account of their circumstances.
Outcome 5 – Consumers are provided with products that perform as firms have led them to expect, and the associated service is of an acceptable standard and as described.
Outcome 6 – Consumers do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers imposed by firms to change product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint.
I firmly believe that with the clarity of our products, the constant training we supply to client staff, and the internal training that you carry out in-house, we can be extremely confident that between us the desired outcomes of Treating Customers Fairly are being met in full.
Unfortunately, some warranty providers are attaching “risk” to the Treating Customers Fairly programme, and claiming that self-funded warranties fall foul of the FCA because if the car dealer goes out of business, then the customers are left without any protection. This is total rubbish.
Our self-funded warranty is outside the scope of the FCA, however all the best practices they have put forward have been integrated into our programme. What is more interesting, is that the alternative that they put forward and suggest you subscribe to, is more than often “a self-funded and non-insured warranty scheme”.
The simple test to discover the reality is to open up a warranty document that you presently give to the customer. If there is no Insurance Certificate or mention of an Underwriter in that document, then the customer will be left stranded if whoever is holding the “pot” goes out of business.
We of course, over our 30 year history, have experienced dealers going into liquidation. The reality is, however, that over 95% of the customers who were left stranded because of the dealer ceasing trading had their warranties reinstated by the new company who took over the business. We work with the liquidator to ensure that any potential buyer is aware of the self-funded warranty scheme that was run, and its liability. In a massive percentage of cases the purchaser of the business will take on the liability to retain the customer’s goodwill (and hopefully their business), and reflect the cost in the purchase price.
If you’re ever made to feel that your self-funded warranty is bad for customers through scaremongering tactics from other providers, because you are holding the money, just think about all the old Rover dealers. I imagine they will have wished they had access to the warranty pot.