Ahead of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Consumer Duty 31st July implementation deadline, the incoming regulations make it even more important for dealers to review the products and customer service processes. The regulations require firms to act to deliver good outcomes for retail customer

More than a quarter (28%) of drivers say the most important thing when taking out car finance is ensuring they can afford the product, according to new research from Close Brothers Motor Finance.

One in five (21%) say making sure they’ve paid a fair price – for example, the right interest rate, deposit, APR, and monthly payment – is a priority. While one in six (17%) says making sure they get the right finance product for their circumstances is key.

97% of car dealers said they already feel confident in explaining finance products to customers, and 94% are confident in comparing the price and value of different point-of-sale finance products.

However, the needs and priorities shared by motor customers, and the introduction of the Consumer Duty, suggests car dealers should be continuing to look at ways to further enhance and improve their customer service and support.

The data also revealed noteworthy gender trends, particularly around price and affordability. One in four (25%) women claimed affordability was a priority when taking out car finance, compared to just 13% of men.

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Lisa Watson, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, says: “With the cost-of-living crisis squeezing people’s finances, the introduction of new Consumer Duty regulations will mean that good customer outcomes will need to be an integral part of dealers’ processes and mindsets.

“The FCA are taking steps to ensure businesses are prioritising the needs of customers and placing a level of responsibility on dealers to help consumers then purchase products that best suit their needs.

“While Consumer Duty is focused on the needs of customers, keeping the new rules at the forefront of customer service should also bring benefits to car dealers.

“It remains crucial for experts in the industry to continue to put customers and their needs first. The key will be having as open, available, and comprehensive communication with customers as possible.”

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