What can we do?Without evidence it is difficult to progress the matter or demonstrate what you suspect is actually happening. Therefore the first stage is to record what is occurring so you can establish whether there is actually an issue, and if the data reveals if there are any patterns. For example if the issues relate to one particular insurer.
This may be as simple as asking the customer which decide not to have their vehicle repaired with you why they have chosen another repairer, when they initially expressed an interest in using your service.
It is important that you record basic data such as date of estimate, value of repair, vehicle & customer details, insurer, reason for choosing another repairer, the identity of the new repairer etc.
Once you have recorded this information over a few months you hopefully will be able to identify whether there is actually an issue, or whether it was just a coincidence that a number of customers from different insurers chose an alternative repairer.
However if all the customers that choose another repairer are from the same insurer and their reasons for changing are similar then perhaps action should be considered.
Depending upon the circumstances and evidence obtained you may discover that the customers are not being treated fairly. If that is the case a letter to the insurer should be written explaining that you have monitored the situation and the evidence suggests that potentially customers are not being treated fairly, you should also politely request that the insurer investigate.
If the insurer fails to act then a complaint to the FCA or Trading Standards may be appropriate, setting out clearly your concerns and enclosing a summary of the evidence you have recorded.
Trading Standards are responsible for policing consumer legislation which has been implemented to protect consumers from unfair trading, and can if appropriate prosecute businesses that fail to treat a consumer fairly.
However in order to encourage any organisation to take action you will be required to evidence your concerns. This in turn places great emphasis upon the quality of your records that you have documented. Ensure when you are speaking with customers you use an agreed form and that all the information is obtained and all the boxes completed.
With good quality ‘professional’ looking evidence the prospect of you encouraging Trading Standards or the FCA to investigate are significantly increased.
The original response can be found on Retail Motor Law’s website , and can be found here!