Over two years ago I filed a complaint with the Motor Ombudsman (MO) regarding a relatively minor dispute with Kia regarding my car. Kia had declined my request to fix all four alloy wheels under its warranty.
After the ombudsman’s suggestion, I commissioned a report into the problem. The outcome supported my complaint and I supplied it to the MO. However, two years have passed, and I can’t get it to reach a conclusion.
The MO no longer responds to questions regarding its progress. Kia will not comment as it says the “issue is with the ombudsman”.
Looking at the reviews of the MO, a great many other people appear to be in my position and unable to get a response. How do you complain about the ombudsman? Please help.
MM by email
Having done this job for a while now I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the big ombudsman services that occupy the consumer space are not fit for purpose. The whole system needs a radical overhaul.
Waits of two years for the Financial Ombudsman to rule are not uncommon. The energy suppliers will often ignore the energy ombudsman’s decisions, without facing any apparent sanction for so doing. And as this letter shows, all is not well at the MO either.
A two-year wait to rule on a relatively trivial dispute concerning alloy wheels is ridiculous. The reviews on Trustpilot, where more than half of posters are very unhappy, suggests that you are not alone. Many other complainants are reporting very long waits for a decision.
I asked the MO about your case, and it did at least jump into action. The case has now been allocated to an ombudsman, and you can expect to receive the outcome before the end of the year.
Colin Bull, the MO’s head of dispute resolution, says the cost of living crisis had led to a record number of cases over the past two years.
“While we are aware of delays with regards to cases at our final decision stage, we are working hard to reduce the time taken to deliver an outcome, and this is improving month on month. In order to maintain our high standard of service, we have undertaken a series of recruitment drives across our organisation,” he says.
For those sure of their case, the small claims procedure will probably provide a much quicker solution.
Booking.com complaints – and two positive stories
The Consumer Champions inbox has been running very hot over the last two weeks with emails from people caught out by messages sent from hotels they are due to stay in. The fact that the message – warning that their booking will be cancelled unless they re-input their card details – is appearing in the Booking.com app makes it seem genuine, and it is this that is catching out normally scam-savvy people. We are once again warning readers to be on their guard because it is catching out so many.
Meanwhile, as it is the season of goodwill – even those working for rail companies and utility providers – I have two positive stories for you.
The first is from SC from Leeds who wrote to praise telecoms company Plusnet. She wrote: “My sister has been unexpectedly made homeless, and was very worried about the two-year contract she had signed for broadband. In one short phone call, Plusnet paused her contract for as long as it takes for her to find a new home, and offered her a free upgrade to her package as and when she’s ready to receive it.”
The second was from PS from Dorchester who wrote to praise the rail operator GWR, which came up trumps when he was stranded at Bristol Temple Meads. “On 4 November travelling from Cardiff after visiting our granddaughter at university, I was notified that my onward train to Dorchester West had been cancelled as had all subsequent trains. Stranded on the platform at 8pm, I asked a member of staff for assistance. After some minutes searching she took me outside to the forecourt, hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take me to Dorchester, a 60-mile, hour-and-a-half journey at no cost to me: I got home sooner than my anticipated arrival time!”
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