Money Advice Trust launches new vulnerability guide for car dealerships

The Money Advice Trust, has today published a new guide to support car dealership staff improve support for customers in vulnerable circumstances. The dealership guide ‘Customer vulnerability: decision-making when purchasing a vehicle’ provides practical tools and processes staff can use when engaging with customers.

Written by the Money Advice Trust’s Vulnerability experts, Chris Fitch and Colin Trend, and with the support of Santander Consumer Finance, the guide outlines the role and responsibilities of credit intermediaries, such as car dealerships, when it comes to identifying and supporting customers who may have difficulty with decision-making. The guide covers key topics including:

  • How customers make decisions
  • Identifying decision-making problems
  • Supporting customers with problems
  • Applying key principles
  • Law and regulation

To help inform the content for the guide, the authors carried out discussions and interviews, with dealership staff which were coordinated by Santander Consumer Finance.

The guide is designed for staff who engage with customers or have a responsibility for customer vulnerability strategies and is available for free via the Money Advice Trust’s Vulnerability Resources Hub.

The Money Advice has delivered training and consultancy to over 250 organisations and 21,000 staff who engage with people in financial difficulty.

Chris Fitch, Vulnerability Lead Consultant at the Money Advice Trust, said: “When purchasing a vehicle from a car dealership, customers will make lots of big and small decisions.

“Importantly, as our new guide explains, we can identify customers who might need extra support or help during their purchase, by carefully watching the way in which they make these decisions.

“Our guide provides staff working in car dealerships with the tools to better identify these vulnerable customers, support them in their decision-making, and to treat them fairly.

“Supported by Santander Consumer Finance, these tools allow sales staff to better know their customers, understand their needs, and allow them to make a purchase that is both fair and affordable.”

Katherine O’Sullivan, Regulatory Policy and Governance Manager at Santander Consumer Finance, said: “It has been an educative and rewarding experience working with the Money Advice Trust, in particular Chris Fitch and Colin Trend, to create this guide for car dealership staff. The industry has been seeking guidance and advice on this complex topic for some time.

“We foresee this valuable toolkit will assist dealership staff to better identify customers having difficulties with decision making and most importantly, help them overcome these.

“Over time, we hope this brings about an enhanced collaborative relationship between dealers and lenders, to ensure the best possible outcome for all of our customers.”