Terms and conditions of membership, Motor Trade Business partnership

The following terms and conditions constitute the ‘Code’ of the South Yorkshire Motor Trade Partnership.

  • the member will be a retailer of new and used (or both) vehicles from retail premises within South Yorkshire
  • membership is conditional upon the audit of business practices and procedures on a regular basis
  • the member (or any business applying for membership) must provide the Trading Standards Service with full details of:
    • Legal ownership of the business 
    • Registered office and/or trading address 
    • Management structure 
    • Gross annual turnover
  • any changes in ownership (or factors which might affect compliance with this code) must be notified to the Partnership Officer as soon as is practicable
  • businesses with criminal convictions or a complaints history deemed to be incompatible with membership of the scheme will be excluded from eligibility. Any refusal of membership is subject to appeal (see appeals procedure)
  • members must comply with the spirit of the law and demonstrate a commitment fair trading and recognised good business practice
  • members must ensure that all relevant staff are aware of this code and ensure compliance with it. A copy of this code must be retained by the member and be available to a consumer upon request
  • members must comply with the ‘Complaints Procedure’ of this code and must ensure that the ‘Complaints Procedure’ is implemented and understood by all relevant employees. All consumer complaints must be dealt with in a prompt, effective and courteous manner
  • a member must not engage in any practice likely to be viewed as high pressure selling, these may include offers depended upon the customer agreeing with a limited time acquisition of deposits during pre-contracted negotiations
  • code members will offer maximum co-operation with local consumer advisers or any other intermediary consulted by a consumer when making a complaint
  • a record of all consumer complaints must be kept for a minimum of 12 months (from the conclusion of the complaint) and be available for inspection by officers of the Trading Standards Services
  • as a member of the South Yorkshire Motor Trade Partnership, the business shall indemnify the four South Yorkshire authorities, their elected members, officers and agents in respect of any costs, claims or proceedings that may arise as a result of membership or approval by this code
  • membership is subject to the payment of the annual fee. South Yorkshire Trading Standards Services reserves the right to amend the annual fee, subject to consultation with code members
  • the Motor Trade Partnership requires its members to display consumer guide leaflets in a prominent position for potential customers, one of these leaflets is to be put in each deal pack
  • the Motor Trade Partnership requires its code members to display the Motor Trade Partnership Certificate in a prominent position within the dealership
  • the South Yorkshire Motor Trade Partnership Scheme will review the code every two years or sooner in the light of legal requirements or other factors

The following must apply to any advertisements:

  • members will have the right to use the partnership logo on business documents and short term promotional material
  • all advertising shall be truthful, clear and shall not mislead
  • credit advertising shall comply with appropriate legal requirements
  • vehicle pricing shall be such that purchasers are fully aware of the total price to pay (and in the case of new vehicles, the on the road price) prior to purchase
  • all prices shall include the current rate of VAT
  • all vehicle brochures must be current and accurate
  • all advertising will comply with the Committee of Advertising practice’s Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing

Any contract used by members must reflect the following:

  • all contract terms must be fair, clear and legible, and must comply with all appropriate legislation
  • guarantees or warranties are in addition to the customers rights
  • all code members must provide the customer with full details of the additional warranties and the nature of these
  • the pre contract information must be in a clear legible, written format , in compliance with the Consumer Credit (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2004,and the Consumer Credit (Agreements) (Amendments) Regulations 2004
  • the members will provide all pre-contract information and any other relevant information
  • the sale transaction must include a written contract, agreed and signed by both parties. Guarantees and warranties are to be itemised separately

Retail Sale will be subject to the following:

  • any potential purchaser shall be fully informed of the total price for the vehicle including, where appropriate, the value of any trade-in
  • sales staff will make customers aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to their chosen method of payment
  • any significant alterations to the contract shall be communicated in writing to the customer as soon as possible, and the customer shall have the right to penalty-free withdrawal

Legislation

In conjunction with the above Terms and conditions, members must also demonstrate compliance with the following legislation:

  • Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999
  • Sale of Goods Act 1968
  • Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994
  • Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
  • Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002
  • Distance Selling Regulations 2000 / 2002
  • Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973
  • Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977  
  • Trade Descriptions Act 1969 
  • Consumer Credit Act 1974
  • Consumer Protection Act 1984
  • Business Names Act 1985
  • Road Traffic Act 1988  

The above list is not exhaustive and will include any other legislation not listed above.

New vehicle sales

Where changes or amendments occur to vehicle specification or their delivery arrangements, these changes must be communicated to the customer at the earliest opportunity.

Used vehicle sales

  • all vehicles sold will be roadworthy and where appropriate must have a current MOT certificate with at least 12 months to run
  • all information relating to the vehicle, including condition, status and history will be made available to any prospective purchaser
  • prior to sale, all reasonable steps will be taken to verify the recorded mileage of the vehicle. If this cannot be established with any certainty, then the member must effectively disclaim the recorded mileage. Any disclaimer must also be included in any sales documentation
  • if within 12 months of a sale it is found that the recorded mileage for a vehicle is false to a material degree, the member will refund the full purchase price to the customer. Where there is any confusion as to ‘full refund’, the decision of the trading standards services will be final
  • if a replacement odometer is fitted to a vehicle, the true mileage must be recorded and supplied in writing to the customer. At the point of sale, an indication of the mileage must be displayed on the vehicle
  • where a true record of the vehicle’s mileage does not exist, an effective disclaimer must be used at the point of sale
  • any un-roadworthy vehicle shall be kept separate from other vehicles. Any such vehicle shall have a notice clearly attached stating;’ This vehicle is un-roadworthy and should not be driven on the public highway until repaired and declared roadworthy’. This notice shall be repeated in any sales documentation. Members must ensure as far as is reasonably possible that the vehicle is not driven from the premises, and that no MOT Certificate or Road Fund Licence is provided with the vehicle
  • all roadworthy vehicles shall be available for test drive by the customer
  • service books should only be replaced where proof of ownership is shown. If a replacement Service Book is provided, certain information must be recorded including details of the vehicle, ownership, mileage, date and the fact that the book is a replacement
  • all code members shall have a user friendly and accessible, free or reasonable priced after sales service
  • code members must ensure that vulnerable consumers including those with language or literacy difficulties are afforded the necessary care and attention during all aspects of the transaction including and after sales service

Dispute Resolution Procedures

Occasionally, a dispute will arise between consumer and Code Member.  In most cases this will be due to misunderstanding, incomplete information or failure of either party to communicate clearly.  The success to resolving disputes is constructive and open dialogue.  Without this, the alternative is often legal proceedings, disproportionate costs and unnecessary delays.

The following procedure shall form part of the Code and is mandatory upon Code Members.

Code Members must have an effective customer complaints procedure, understood and implemented by all relevant employees.

Any consumer complaint will be dealt with in a prompt, effective and courteous manner, in accordance with good business practice.

A senior person for each Code Member will be designated as a nominated person for consumer complaints.  In the event that minor complaints cannot be dealt with by other employees, the complaint must be actioned by the nominated person.

Subject to the rights of appeal, any decision arising from this procedure shall be binding upon Code Members.

Nothing within this procedure (and decisions) shall be binding on the consumer.

  • where a consumer makes a complaint about a Code member to South Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (or any partner organisation), they will be provided with the name and contact details for the nominated person
  • a complaint which in the opinion of Trading Standards involves the allegation of a criminal offence will be investigated in accordance with the enforcement policies of the service, irrespective of the business being a Code Member
  • the Code Member will (insofar as is reasonable) ensure the complaint is resolved with 14 days of the consumer’s complaint.  Where it is anticipated that the complaint cannot be resolved in this time, the code member and the consumer should agree a reasonable time upon which they anticipate resolving the complaint
  • if after 1 month the complaint is not resolved and there is no agreement upon a date at which the complaint is likely to be resolved or there remains no agreement as to the facts of the complaint, either the Code Member or the Consumer (or both) may request assistance under this procedure
  • having regard to the principles of impartiality, the Trading Standards Nominated Officer shall consider any evidence from either party that is considered relevant to the complaint. In doing so, the Officer may:  
    • arrange for the inspection of the vehicle by Trading Standards engineers
    • request that either party provide additional information as is deemed necessary
    • hold discussions with the parties, separately or together
  • where there remains disagreement between the parties, the Trading Standards Nominated Officer will make a recommendation.  Written details of the recommendation will be provided to both parties within 7 days
  • subject to the appeals procedure, the recommendation will be binding on the Code Member.  Nothing in this procedure will preclude the consumer from seeking redress through legal action in the civil courts
  • full details of the complaint will be recorded by the Code Member and retained for no less than 12 months from the conclusion of the complaint. The record of the complaint will be made available for inspection by the Motor Trade Partnership Development Officer or Trading Standards nominated officer
Last updated: 03 April 2017 17:48:36