Treating Customers Fairly - Borrowing From Us

TCF Statement:

Each year we help 1000’s of families in the UK to fulfil their essential transportation needs for social, domestic and employment purposes despite the fact that they may have a poor credit rating that could otherwise exclude them from ownership of a safe and reliable motor car. The vast majority of our customers have a positive outcome in their dealings with us and this is because we always attempt to treat our customers in a reasonable and fair way. Despite our best efforts cars do develop faults and we understand that this can be upsetting to customers particularly where they have only recently taken delivery of the car. For this reason all the cars we finance come with a mechanical breakdown warranty (free of charge). The customer can rely on the warranty to repair any mechanical or electrical fault that arises during the period of cover. This means that in the vast majority of cases faults are repaired in a timely fashion and the car is soon back on the road in full working order. Occasionally a fault may be more complicated to diagnose resulting in it taking a little longer to repair. Where this happens we ask customers to provide us with their understanding on the basis that the repairing garage will be working as hard as possible to resolve the matter.

We do expect customers to make all of their repayments to us on time unless they are suffering a genuine financial hardship. Where hardship occurs we will listen to customers sympathetically and provide them with advice so that they may attempt to gain financial relief from their unsecured creditors in order to rebalance their household budget, meet their essential expenditure needs without having to borrow more money and pay their preferential debt including their car payment.

Should a customer believe that we have not acted fairly in our dealings with them then they should communicate this to the Managing Director by following the process explained towards the end of this document entitled Making a complaint, providing a summary of their grievance.

What can you expect from us?
When will the loan start?

You take delivery of the car and your loan starts when you sign the loan agreement. Loan agreements signed on trade premises (like ours) cannot be cancelled, so once you have signed the loan agreement you are committed to the car purchase.

Understanding the terms of the loan agreement before you sign it:

We will provide you with the credit to buy the car using a Hire Purchase agreement. Under a Hire Purchase agreement you can become the owner of the car once you have repaid all of the money that you owe to us under the agreement. Until then your interest in the car is that of a hirer.

The Sales Manager of our approved car sales partner will agree the monthly/weekly payments with you taking into consideration the price of the car, duration of the loan, value of your part exchange and your cash deposit. They will also tell you about the MOT renewal date and the mechanical breakdown warranty.

Now that you have chosen your new car and agreed the payments with the sales manager, they will assist you to complete a budget form so that you and us can determine that you can afford the repayments.

Following this you will be asked if you would like to view the loan documentation. The documentation is sent electronically to your smart phone, from where you can take your time to read through all of the documents. The first document that you will see is the pre-contractual explanations form, this contains the important features of the agreement. You may then read all of the other documentation. You will notice that also included in the document package sent to your smart phone is a short slide-show. The slide-show provides you with extra time to consider the most important features of the agreement before you are asked to sign the agreement. If you have any questions, you should ask the sales manager for an explanation before signing the agreement.

As well as the features of the agreement the documentation package sent to your smart phone will also explain:

  • The type of loan you will be signing
  • When your payments will be due
  • What security (if any) you must provide
  • How you will be adversely affected if you get into arrears
  • The consequences of default
  • Your Right to withdrawer from the loan agreement
A copy of the loan documentation for your records:

After you have electronically signed the Hire Purchase agreement a copy of all of the documentation will be sent immediately to your nominated email address. Keep the documents for your future reference. If you require a further copy of the documents Tel: 0161 379 0300.

Paying us:

When you buy a car you will be asked to sign a direct debit or standing order mandate and you will be informed of the first and subsequent payment dates. We will send the mandate to your bank so that they can establish the payment on your behalf and we will send you a letter to say that we have done so.

We are happy to match the date of your payment to the date that you receive the most significant part of your regular monthly/weekly household income. You must provide evidence to support any request for a change to your due date (applies only to the highest earner in the case of joint signatories. Due date changes on monthly paid loans, may not exceed 15 days after the original contractual due date and on weekly paid loans 6 days).

What contact will you have from us during the term of your loan:

If you make all of your payments on time then you will not be contacted by us other than when we send you your annual statement. You may of course contact us at any time, for instance to ask for a settlement figure, to check your account balance or for advice or information about your loan.

If you do not keep your payments up to date then we will commence contact with you as soon as it comes to our attention that you have missed a payment and thereafter on every occasion where, while you are still in arrears you fail to fulfil any payment arrangement that you make with us. We may contact you by telephone, letter, SMS or home visit.

Informing us that you are unable to pay:

If for any reason you are unable to make a payment on its due date then you must telephone us on or before the day on which the payment falls due. Tel: 0161 379 0300. You will need to explain to us the reason for the missed payment and provide us with an arrangement that will bring your loan back up to date.

Consequence of missing payments:

Please remember that missing payments has serious consequences and could result in us repossessing the car and thereafter taking legal action against you for the recovery of any shortfall balance. This will affect your ability to get credit in the future (e.g. a credit card or a mortgage) and may make getting credit more expensive. If we take legal action we may seek to recover the money you owe us direct from your salary by applying to the County Court to award us an order that instructs your employer to take money directly from your wages to pay us.

What if you do not inform us of your arrears and you ignore our attempts to contact you?

If you choose to ignore the arrears and choose not to return our calls or respond to our letters then as you are in breach of the terms of the loan agreement we will issue a Notice of Default. You will then be required to pay to us the sum demanded in the Notice of Default within the specified period of time, otherwise further action will be taken that could result in the car being repossessed and court action being commenced to recover any resulting shortfall balance.

What approach will we take if you tell us that you are suffering persistent financial hardship?

We expect you to make all your payments on time unless you are experiencing genuine financial hardship. In which case and on the basis that a car loan is a preferential debt, we will suggest that you seek advice from a non fee charging consumer advice organisation. Such organisations recognise that car loans are preferential debts and will on your behalf attempt to negotiate debt relief first and foremost with your unsecured creditors (those with whom you owe money on a non preferential basis). Where these negotiations are successful and result in bringing about a reduction in what you have to pay each month to your unsecured creditors you may then be in a position to maintain your contractual payments under your car loan with us, while at the same time being able to meet your other essential commitments without having to borrow money to do so.

What if your financial problem is only short term?

If a short term arrears situation happens we will ask you to resolve the matter by paying to us the full amount of the arrears on the day that you next receive the most significant part of your monthly/weekly household income. If you cannot afford to do so then we will discuss with you a repayment plan that will result in you paying the arrears in the shortest reasonable period of time. In order to reach an agreement on the period of time you may need to provide us with evidence of your income and expenditure so that we can both agree that the repayment plan is affordable, sustainable and fair on both parties.

If you regularly miss payments we may have no choice but to terminate the loan agreement, which will result in the car being repossessed and legal action started to recover any resulting shortfall balance.

What happens if the car is repossessed?

We will not repossess the car until you have made default in payment and we have issued to you any notice required by law. Thereafter we may repossess the car, which will be sold at public auction or by private contract. The proceeds of the sale will be applied to the balance of your account and we may start legal action against you to recover any resulting shortfall balance.

Extension of Time Order:

If we commence repossession proceedings you may apply to the County Court for a Time Order. If the Court grants you a Time Order we will comply with the judgement.

If we repossess the car we will hold it for 14 days in case you wish to pay the balance outstanding and retake possession as the legal owner of the car.

Repossession rights:

Where you have entered into a Hire Purchase Agreement and you have repaid one third or more of the total amount payable we may need a court order before we can repossess the car. In Scotland we may need a court order at any time before we can repossess the car without your consent.

Notice of sums in arrears:

If your loan falls into arrears we will send you a Notice of Sums in Arrears. If thereafter your loan remains in arrears you will receive a further Notice of Sums in Arrears every six months until you have cleared all of the arrears that you owe. The notice will be sent if you are 2 payments in arrears under a monthly paid agreement or 4 payments in arrears under a weekly paid agreement.

Charges for being in arrears:

If you are in arrears you will incur collection charges. If the car is repossessed or we start legal action against you, you will be charged our reasonable costs for those events. Details of the charges that we apply are contained in the pre-contract information sheet and loan agreement.

Refund of overpayments:

If an error occurs resulting in you paying more than you were due to pay in a given month/week we will refund the overpayment directly into your bank account on the same day that the error comes to our attention.

Continuous payment authority (CPA):

If you are in arrears and you believe that it would help you to maintain your future payments by paying us by credit or debit card this is a continuous payment authority or CPA. We will conduct the CPA under a strict set of rules, which we will send to you by letter when you give us the instruction to take your future payments that way. Our process for handling CPA complies with the guidance published by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Annual statement of account:

We will send you a statement of account each year for the duration of the loan. You may also ask us for a statement of account at any other time and we will send one to you free of charge.

Credit reference agency:

Each month we will submit to credit reference agencies information about how you are conducting your loan with us. By making all of your payments on time your personal credit rating may improve with the result that you may be able to get credit easier and cheaper in the future. Conversely if you do not make your payments on time this may result in you finding it harder and more expensive to get credit.

Asset register:

On entering into the loan agreement we will ensure that the car has clear legal title so that when you have repaid your debt to us you will have no difficulty assuming ownership of the car. For the period of time that you owe us money our priority financial interest will be recorded against the car, which means that you will not be able to borrow money against the car until you have repaid what you owe to us and assumed ownership. The asset register is called HPI and details can be found at www.hpicheck.com.

Motor insurance claims:

Under the terms of your loan agreement with us you are required to cover the car with a policy of fully comprehensive insurance. The Law also requires that you keep the car insured when being used on the public highway. If you are unfortunate enough to have to claim under your motor insurance policy we will be happy to provide you (free of charge) with assistance to help you to manage your claim in order to maximise the claim value and minimise any resulting shortfall in what you owe to us.

Future business:

Many of our customers use us more than once to fund their car purchases. Some also refer their family and friends to us, which is something that we much appreciate. By making your loan payments on time you will find that we will be more supportive of any application that you make to us for a car loan in the future.

Making a complaint:

If you wish to make a complaint you may do so by email to [email protected], by letter to Unit 2 Alexandra Street, Hyde SK14 1DX or by using the link on the contact us page of this website. Complaints should be addressed for the attention of the Managing Director.

How will we handle your complaint:

Your complaint will be handled by a manager with the appropriate level of authority to make a decision about the complaint. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 72 hours. Unless your complaint is particularly complicated we will issue our final written response to you within 14 days.

We will handle your complaint fairly and objectively taking into consideration all of the relevant evidence and information available to us. Where we agree with your complaint we will suggest an appropriate course of action to resolve the dispute. In the event that we reject your complaint we will inform you of the basis of our decision in the response that we send to you.

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS):

You may ask the FOS to arbitrate on any unresolved dispute between you and us. You must have first given us the opportunity to resolve the dispute before contacting the FOS. You can contact the FOS by writing to them at Exchange Tower, London E14 9SR or by telephone on 0800 023 4567. Details are also available on their website, www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Telephone calls with us:

We record telephone calls for training and monitoring purposes. If you are unhappy with the way that we have conducted a telephone call with you then you may raise a complaint in the way described in the paragraph above entitled “making a complaint” or you may call us back and ask to speak to the most senior on duty manager. You should provide us with the date and approximate time of the telephone call and if possible the name of the employee who you spoke to.

Before providing you with a response a manager of appropriate authority will listen to the recording of the call. If we conclude that our employee has acted inappropriately, either in the outcome that he or she has reached or in the way that you have been spoken too then we will acknowledge this to be the case, provide you with an apology and bring the matter to the attention of the employee so that they may learn from their mistake. Employees who repeat such behaviour will be disciplined. If we do not agree that you have been spoken to inappropriately then we will tell you so and we will explain the reason why we have come to that conclusion. In which case you may accept our response or alternatively you may choose to bring your complaint to the attention of the FOS in the way described in the paragraph above entitled Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

We do not accept complaints from customers who act in a hostile, threatening or abusive manner. If you are unable to talk to us respectfully then you may chose to appoint a representative to handle your complaint on your behalf. Telephone calls received from customers acting abusively will be disconnected.

Hire Purchase

Where your loan is a Hire Purchase agreement your rights under the agreement are those only of a hirer until you have made to us all of the payments under the agreement. After you have paid one third or more of the total amount payable we may not repossess the car without a court order. In Scotland we may need a court order at any time before repossession unless you have authorised us to do so. You may terminate the agreement any time before the final payment but upon doing so you will immediately become liable to pay any shortfall in payment of the sum equal to one half of the total amount payable under the Agreement. If you have already paid this amount you will not have to pay anymore. If you wish to terminate the agreement you must have kept the car in proper working order considering it’s age and previous usage, repaired any faults and you must deliver it up to us at your own expense together with the DVLA form V5 and current MOT certificate. Ownership in the car passes to you when you have repaid all the payments under the agreement and you have advised us in writing that you wish to assume ownership.

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