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Flexibility is the key to spreading the cost of car repairs
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Flexibility is the key to spreading the cost of car repairs

09/02/2017

When the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his Autumn Statement back in November, he outlined the Government's plans to pay closer attention to the plight of Britain's so-called 'JAMs' - families who are 'Just About Managing' financially. If recent reports are anything to go by, such households will certainly welcome help in making ends meet. As reported by The Independent UK wages no longer meet the cost of living in many cases, causing household debt to soar. According to research carried out by the TUC, unsecured debt has reached a record high of £349bn and families are now struggling to get by on their pay alone.

And the situation isn't likely to improve in the near future. As we settle into 2017, indications are that overall living costs are set to rise, with inflation expected to hit close to 3%. This will see UK residents from all backgrounds paying more for housing, food and healthcare. Car owners in particular are in for added financial pressure: changes to car tax regulations from April 1 will see the long-term running costs of the most efficient models leap; higher tax prices for all new cars in the first year of registration and a flat rate of £140 for most cars thereafter. Petrol prices are also expected to rise, while car insurance costs will continue to accelerate. So motorists will be faced with a considerable increase in overall running costs during 2017...and that's before servicing and repairs even enter the equation.

It stands to reason that as costs rise, motorists will naturally do all they can to save money - whether that's shopping around for cheaper deals or skipping services and 'non-essential' repairs altogether. Instead of losing the sale of repair work or discounting to the point where their own bottom lines are affected, dealers should seize the opportunity presented by aftersales payment alternatives, including interest free payment instalments. And while "JAM" families would certainly welcome the flexibility and convenience offered by interest-free payment plans at a time when careful budgeting is a necessity, they are not alone.

As we reported in a previous blog, recent research published by the Times showed that "across all socio-economic classes 38% would struggle with a £500 outlay". This included the upper end of the so-called ABC1s right through to the lower end of the C2DE grouping. Indeed, among higher earning respondents, as many as 11% believed they would not be able to pay an immediate bill of £100 without needing to borrow money.

The requirement for flexible payment options is growing across all aspects of retail and the automotive sector is no different. By embracing and offering this flexibility dealers can retain more business and provide support to consumers from all financial groups.

Bumper provides a simple payment solution for car repairs and servicing that is customer centric, responsible and easy to implement. For information on joining the dealer network, visit our Dealer Zone or contact us on sales@autoservicefinance.com

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*By using Bumper, you are taking out a form of credit. You must be 18+ & a UK resident to apply. There are no fees, no interest or additional charges, however missed payments may incur a £12 administration fee and may impact your credit score. In extreme cases, recovering missed payments may include using a responsible debt collection agency, or as a last resort, taking legal action. Bumper’s instalment credit products are not regulated by the FCA.