Unhappy with the repair of your car? Contact the Financial Ombudsman Service
One of the most upsetting, stressful, and expensive situations is getting your car back from the repair shop after taking it because of an incident or crash. Strange sounds, rare terminations or an unpayable ticket only makes this uncontrollable rage flow and will definitely ruin your day - and probably your short-term finances -. The Financial Ombudsman Service can help in these situations, analyzing both sides of the story, the circumstances and whether the outcome is fair and reasonable.
Insurers are most likely to pay for repairs when a car has been involved in an accident. Nevertheless, the most common reasons the F.O.S. observe are the situations where repairs have taken too long, poor quality on the repair work, further damage was made during the repair, replacement vehicle was not provided or that the customer thinks the car should have written off your car instead of repairing it.
Sometimes the delay can be beyond the insurance´s control, if this is the case, the company should inform about this situation: what is going on and an estimate of when the work will be done. Some easy repairs or easy tasks can take much longer because replacement parts may not be available.
Quality of repair work
The most common complaints the F.O.S. receive about quality work are the ones regarding the customer being unsatisfied about how the work is done, that not everything was fixed from the accident and that the repairs have caused more damage to the car. The Financial Ombudsman Service will ask for evidence about how the car ran before the accident such as photos and/or reports from engineers and independent experts. The possible solutions can incluye asking the insurer to correct the damage, let the customer choose the repair garage or write-off the vehicle and pay the car´s value before the accident.
While your car is being repaired, you might have had to hire a replacement vehicle and the most frequent complaint about this is that the insurer won't cover the cost. If the insurer caused the delay of the repairments the F.O.S. will ask the company to cover the cost of the replacement car if the customer acted reasonably and hired a similar car than the one that is being repaired.
Written-off vs repaired car
The F.O.S. will look if the decision of repairing the car instead of paying for it was the correct one basing its decision on evidence such as the condition of the car before the accident and the costs of the repairs. The industry practice usually considers writing-off a vehicle when the repair cost is between 60 to 70% of the pre-accident car´s value. So if this is the case, the F.O.S. will usually intervene on the customer's behalf.
Repairs put the vehicle in better condition than before
The insurer might think it is unfair to put the car in better conditions than it was before so might use second-hand replacement parts or offer cash settlement. The customer might think the settlement might be unfair and that's when the dispute arises. The F.O.S. will look at what the policy states or at the parts being replaced to arrive at a conclusion.
What will the Financial Ombudsman Service will look at
The F.O.S. will analyze all the available information such as photos, claim notes, engineers report, independent opinions if needed and and listen to both sides of the story. Keep in mind that if the repairs were made by the garage appointed by your insurer, it's more probable your insurer will be held responsible for. If you made the repairs in a garage you chose with the agreement of the insurer, the F.O.S. usually won´t hold your insurer responsible for anything gone wrong. Instead, what they will look into is if the insurer explained that you will be responsible for these kind of repairs.