How ALD Automotive is ensuring a fair deal for consumers
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expects every organisation to consistently deliver fair outcomes for consumers, and to clearly demonstrate how they are doing so. The actions of employees at all levels, and the underlying company culture, must comply with a formal Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) policy. It is also important to commit to the spirit and principles underlying TCF. The fair treatment of customers has always been central to the corporate culture of ALD Automotive. Whilst the specific regulatory requirements only legally apply to our General Insurance and Consumer Credit activities; we still embrace and apply the principles of TCF to our entire customer base. This includes each employee's direct and indirect interactions with customers, and our partnerships with third party providers for specific services to end customers. We also ensure all our corresponding policies are approved by our senior management, regularly reviewed and updated, and actively advocated by all staff. Maintaining positive and productive customer relationships is a key part of how ALD operates and one of the reasons for our success to date.
Clear and informative customer communication
It is vital that our customers receive the right information to enable them to understand the benefits, risks and any potentially adverse impact before committing to buying a product or service from us. We take care to ensure that every customer receives appropriate disclosures at a suitable point in the sales process. We have also put in place low-call numbers for all business areas to enable customers to raise queries and ask questions as necessary. During the development of our regulated documents and processes, we take account of consumer financial capability and try to ensure that our documents are clear, simple and not misleading. This is a continuous process: we welcome feedback from partners and customers to help us refine and improve our communications. Ultimately, our goal is to provide each individual with all the information they need to make an appropriate and informed decision.
Operating and lending responsibly
As a creditor we are required to assess the creditworthiness of any regulated borrower to ensure we are lending responsibly. We do this in the following ways:
- To ensure consistency and accountability, our process is automated and incorporates the information provided by the customer as well as information returned from a Credit Reference Agency (CRA).
- In some cases, not all, we also request verification of the information provided; t his means the customer providing original copies of pay slips, employment contracts, bank statements or other relevant documents.
- In addition, we require our partners to inform us of any other customer information that may impact their ability to make repayments.
- We automatically assess a customer's previous history and level of affordability as part of our process; this provides us with the documentary evidence needed to support our lending criteria
Fairness throughout the business lifecycle
TCF is considered at all points of our regulated business processes. This covers product development, financial promotion, customer proposals, product delivery, in–life management, end of contract return and disposal. Where we are targeting consumer (rather than corporate) markets, we take into account additional risks such as level of financial capability, product knowledge, creditworthiness and affordability.
The ALD core values of professionalism, team spirit and innovation not only provide the framework and clear focus for our company ethos; they also facilitate our commitment to treating all our customers fairly and with respect. This is embedded into the day-to-day activities and practices of all our employees. If at any time our customers feel that we have failed to live up to our ethos, they are encouraged to contact us.
Dealing with customer issues
Achieving customer satisfaction is a key goal, not just at the point of sale but throughout the lifetime of the contract. Our customer support teams are on hand to help each customer with any issues that may occur, whether they are related to their contract, the product or payments.
Occasionally a customer may wish to complain, and in those circumstances we have a formal complaints procedure in place. We also take care to keep records of the complaints data we receive to conduct trend analysis and give early warning of any potential areas of concern. Complaints are tracked to ensure that cases are progressed within target timescales. If a complaint is received, a written acknowledgement is sent to the complainant within 5 working days and a resolution within 56 days. If this is not possible for any reason, we explain in full when a comprehensive response can reasonably be expected and remind the customer of their right to refer to the Financial Ombudsman Service or to escalate to an industry conciliation service.
Our TCF policy, processes, management information and permanent supervision controls are all reviewed annually to ensure that we continue to adhere to the TCF principles appropriately. Ongoing training is completed by all employees in line with their role and responsibilities. In addition, our formal audit functions incorporate TCF and any anomalies identified are raised with the appropriate line manager to enable action to be taken. Where necessary, these are also raised with our Risk and Management committees.
ALD Automotive Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.