A study by The Motor Ombudsman, the automotive dispute resolution provider, has found that over half (54%) of respondents had very limited or no knowledge at all when choosing which garage to buy their first car from. Similarly, 53% didn’t know where to get their vehicle serviced when they first started driving. The YouGov poll was commissioned to mark the launch of The Motor Ombudsman’s online guide, “#JustPassed”.
The handy one-stop point of reference, which can now be downloaded from TheMotorOmbudsman.org, has been designed to make the process easier for new drivers when it comes to the purchase of a vehicle or where to take it for routine maintenance.
The survey of over 1,500 GB licence holders also revealed the primary reasons for the difficulty of selecting a retailer or repairer. Around one in two were unable to determine the criteria on which to base their opinion of the garage, with over half of people saying that they were unsure as to which business offered the best value for the money that they had available to spend.
Furthermore, the results indicated that nearly two thirds of drivers who were able to come to a decision in terms of where to acquire their pride and joy, or where to have it maintained, did so thanks to word of mouth recommendations from friends and family (61% and 63% respectively). Close to a third simply visited the garage that was nearest to them, whilst a quarter used online customer reviews and ratings, such as those that can be found on The Motor Ombudsman’s Garage Finder, to help form their judgement.
The Motor Ombudsman study showed that out of the individuals questioned, 47% said that the price of the car, and affordability in terms of running and repairing it (33%), were key influencers in their choice of model. A vehicle that was of the right size for their needs was an important consideration for nearly one in four respondents (24%).
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Passing a driving test often signals the start of greater independence for many, and therefore, people are eager to get behind the wheel of their own car. However, the findings show that for such a significant purchase, a large proportion of new drivers are having to make big financial decisions without the right information in front of them, specifically when it comes to what make and model to get, as well as where to buy the car and have it serviced when the interval comes around.”
He added: “To help plug this gap, we have created a simple easy-to-use guide and a handy checklist to help consumers ask the right questions, including whether the garage is accredited to a recognised Code of Practice for that all-important peace of mind. As the first digital resource of its kind, we expect it to be extremely popular.”