Motor Ombudsman adds distance sales online training course

The Motor Ombudsman adds new course on distance sales The Motor Ombudsman has added a new module on distance sales to its Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved online training portfolio

The Motor Ombudsman has added a new module on distance sales to its Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved online training portfolio. Tailored to the needs of businesses operating in the motor industry, it joins the existing suite of web-based courses on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

A distance sale or contract is defined as when a customer buys a product, such as a new or used car, exclusively on the internet or over the phone without ever visiting a seller’s physical premises during the purchase or at the point of delivery. The latest course has been introduced in response to the growing number of automotive businesses allowing motorists to order, part exchange, finance and purchase a vehicle remotely. In fact, Citizens Advice responded to 4,500 complaints from consumers regarding cars bought at a distance during the last financial year, thereby reinforcing the need for greater staff training as this sales channel continues to evolve.

The new course is said to be suitable for any organisation in the UK selling new or second-hand cars (regardless of whether they are accredited to The Motor Ombudsman), and takes around 30 minutes to complete. With The Motor Ombudsman conscious of the busy schedules of businesses, the module is SCORM compliant, meaning that it can be stopped and restarted as necessary to fit around an individual’s workload. The tuition covers the following key areas:

What a distance sales contract is and the legislation governing it – the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013;
The increased rights of consumers during a distance sale; The obligations to be met by businesses; The significance of a consumer deposit when paying for a car remotely; and
Case study scenarios to gain an understanding of this sales channel in practice.

The module culminates with a short test and a downloadable checklist to help businesses to determine whether or not the sale can be classified as one that is at a distance. In addition, each user will receive a certificate from The Motor Ombudsman plus Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.

Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Buying cars is no longer confined to bricks and mortar premises. Therefore, it is important that businesses are fully up to speed with the laws and obligations governing distance contracts and transactions. The easy-to-navigate module allows users to go through the essential elements of this sales channel and to come away with sufficient knowledge to feel confident in selling to consumers online or over the phone.”

A dedicated page on distance sales FAQs has also been added to the Motoring Advice section of The Motor Ombudsman website ( to help consumers become familiar with the implications of them.

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