10th August 2021

Vulnerability paper published

A new paper published by the Motor Ombudsman explores how vulnerable consumers on social media can be identified and supported.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

A new publication from The Motor Ombudsman explores the relationship between social media and consumer vulnerability. The paper, ‘Identifying and managing consumer vulnerability effectively in the age of social media’, was written in response to the growing trend for customers to turn to social media platforms when looking to resolve a dispute.

Twitter or Facebook are often the first port of call for consumers expressing their concerns and the paper sets out how vulnerability may be identified through the words, phrases and language that is used by a consumer on a social network.

The document also discusses The Motor Ombudsman’s Vulnerability Evaluation Matrix, a framework designed to ensure a consistent approach to consumer vulnerability. The paper outlines when it may be suitable to direct customers to additional sources of support.

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of the Motor Ombudsman, said: “Consumer vulnerability is a widely talked about subject, and it is important to recognise that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to managing and identifying vulnerable customers, even on social media. It’s therefore essential to tailor your approach according to an individual’s specific needs.

“The emergence of Twitter and Facebook as a communications platform for when consumers are seeking help, has meant that we have had to adapt and change our own staff training programme and internal procedures. This is so to help ensure that how we identify and manage vulnerability as an organisation continues to move with the times, and ultimately evolves in a direction that accommodates the preferences of today’s customers.”

The paper is available here.

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