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National Conciliation Service

The National Conciliation Service (NCS) is a TSI certified automotive Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider. Specialising in consumer and trader disputes within the automotive retail sector; the NCS was established in 1964. It is these years of ADR experience and industry expertise that enable the NCS to successfully resolve disputes and help the automotive industry and its consumers when assistance is needed.

What is ADR?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a means of settling disputes without using the court or tribunal systems. It involves lower costs, speedier processes and is therefore normally a more viable and accessible means of dispute resolution for consumers and traders. Involving independent, neutral third parties and covering various levels of informal and formal resolution, ADR is a practical means to settling disputes when parties cannot resolve an issue themselves.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) details the most common forms of ADR as:

  • Mediation: where an independent third party helps the disputing parties to come to a mutually acceptable outcome.
  • Arbitration: Where an independent third party considers the facts and takes a decision that’s often binding on one or both parties.

What the NCS can do for you?

The NCS specialises in resolving disputes in the automotive sector and currently cover the largest range of disputes in our sector.

The NCS can offer you mediation, as well as more formal arbitration for harder to resolve disputes.
Who is involved in NCS processes?

Your dispute will initially be handled by one of the NCS's casehandlers. Our casehandlers will provide an impartial assessment of the case, liaising with both the consumer and trader and providing a recommended outcome to resolve the dispute.

This initial decision is not binding on either party and as such, if either party remains unhappy with the outcome, the case can be referred to the NCS' next level of resolution, arbitration.

NCS arbitration

If disputes cannot be resolved through mediation, cases can be brought before the NCS Panel of Arbitrators. Our arbitrators are all Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and have previously worked within the automotive industry.

At this stage, the parties are informed prior to starting arbitration that the decision made will be legally binding. It is then for the parties to agree to move forward and accept the Arbitrators decision as final.

FAQs about the NCS

What types of dispute does the NCS deal with?

The NCS is an ADR provider to the automotive retail industry.

The NCS most commonly handles cases related to:

  • sale contracts of vehicles
  • service and repairs contracts of vehicles
  • used cars
  • lost deposits

How much will it cost me to use the NCS?

  1. It is free for consumers to use the NCS mediation.
  2. If the dispute requires the use of arbitration, a nominal registration fee will be charged.

How quickly will my dispute be settled?

As the NCS is a certified ADR provider, an outcome to your dispute will be provided within 90 days of a casehandler receiving a complete complaint file.

A complaint file is required by a casehandler to resolve a dispute and includes relevant information detailing the dispute from both parties.

How can I file an initial complaint submission with the NCS or contact the organisation?

You can file an initial complaint submission with the NCS via:

  1. Website
    Our online complaint form can be found on our website, please visit:
  2. Post
    You can also write to the NCS regarding your dispute at:
    The National Conciliation Service
    Units 2&3
    Allerton Road
    Central Park
    CV23 OPA
  3. Telephone
    01788 538317

Can the NCS refuse to take on my dispute?
Yes, on occasion it may not be appropriate for the NCS to take on your dispute.
Common reasons for the NCS to refuse a dispute, include, but are not limited to:

  • You have not attempted to contact the trader and resolve the dispute prior to submitting your complaint with the NCS.
  • The dispute is being considered, or has been previously considered, by another ADR provider or by a court.
  • As the consumer, you have not submitted a complaint to the NCS within the required time period. The complaint must be submitted within 12 months from the date upon which the trader has given notice to the consumer that the trader is unable to resolve the complaint with the consumer.

My complaint is related to a vehicle loan or insurance. Can I still use the NCS?

No, disputes relating to financial services must be handled by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Helpful definitions

Consumer: A consumer is person who purchases goods and services for personal use.
The individual is acting for purposes wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession.

Trader: A person acting for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession, whether acting personally or through another person acting in the trader’s name or on the trader’s behalf.

Complete complaint file: A complaint file is complete once a casehandler has received all the necessary information and documentation required from the consumer and trader, as well as any additional expert opinions, witness statements and external evidence etc. required to assess the dispute.

Sales contract: A contract under which a trader transfers or agrees to transfer the ownership of goods to a consumer and the consumer pays or agrees to pay the price, including any contract that has both goods and services as its object.

As described under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, a contract of sale of goods is a contract by which the seller transfers or agrees to transfer the property in goods to the buyer for a money consideration, called the price.
Service contract: A contract other than a sales contract, under which a trader supplies, or agrees to supply a service to a consumer and the consumer pays, or agrees to pay, the price.

The National Conciliation Service

Units 2&3
Allerton Road
Central Park
01788 538317