Being a responsible business
Auto Trader believes in promoting trust and fairness in our marketplace and this has become part of the way we work across the organisation. We aspire to be the UK’s most admired digital business and we want that admiration to come from employees, suppliers, partners and customers alike.
The only way to deliver the best experience for our consumers and the best services for our customers – and do the right things by our people – is to approach things in the right way. We have established policies, procedures and training to ensure that everyone at Auto Trader knows that they must behave professionally, ethically and legally; treating people with decency and respect.
We promote a culture of compliance and shared responsibility by providing advice and information to keep our employees, consumers and customers smart, safe and secure.
Maintaining a trusted marketplace
Buying or selling a car should be a pleasant and hassle-free experience‚ and should be transparent and fair. At Auto Trader we do everything we can to make sure that's the case.
We put the consumer at the heart of everything we do. By introducing tools such as Price Indicator, Dealer Reviews and Monthly price search, we improve the transparency of the consumer’s car buying journey and of the whole marketplace.
Consumers trust Auto Trader to show genuine, accurate adverts when they search for vehicles. We have a dedicated customer security team working seven days a week, who monitor our site to identify adverts that are potentially fraudulent or misleading, whether that be a misleading price or inaccurate mileage in their advert. We also have functionality to enable users of our site to report a misleading advert whilst they are searching, which we then investigate and, if necessary, remove from the site. Our online Safety and Security area offers tips, checklists and advice to help car buyers and car owners stay safe when using our platform. Over 10 years ago, we founded the Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group (VSTAG), an industry forum created to reduce online vehicle crime and help protect buyers and sellers of pre-owned vehicles from fraud. VSTAG brings the UK's leading online car sales companies together with advisors from the Metropolitan Police, Get Safe Online and Action Fraud.
Customers and consumers trust our platform, and we invest to keep it secure. We continuously monitor the availability and resilience of our platform and systems, as well as investing in security infrastructure to ensure they remain robust.
We employ dedicated security teams and carry out regular penetration testing and reviews of threats and vulnerabilities. We have two-factor verification in place to access our network, providing enhanced authentication. We have been PCI DSS (payment card industry data security standard) compliant since 2013 and use an external Quality Security Assessor to maintain best practice.
Protecting consumer and customer data
Protecting the data of our consumers and our retailer customers is also an important focus for us. We have completed a comprehensive programme of work to ensure the organisation (both in the UK and Ireland) complies with the new General Data Protection Regulation.
We are a data-led business, and when it comes to collecting and storing personal data we abide by a clear set of principles.
We are committed to ensuring that personal information we collect and use is appropriate for the purpose, and does not constitute an invasion of privacy. Where appropriate Auto Trader obtains consent from consumers to gather personal data to service their enquiries for products, services or vehicles advertised on the site. Explicit consent is also obtained to contact consumers for marketing purposes. We may pass personal data to third-party service providers contracted to Auto Trader in the course of dealing with customers or employees. We carefully vet any third parties that we share data with, and they are obliged to keep it securely, and to use it only to fulfil the service they provide on our behalf.
Operating ethically and responsibly
We are committed to carrying out all business activities in an honest, open and ethical manner.
We take a holistic view when deciding which suppliers and partners we should work with, and alignment with our values and culture is as important as commercial considerations. We carefully vet new and existing relationships to ensure that our standards will be adhered to. We have a formal procurement policy that ensures that selection of suppliers and partners is carried out in a consistent and fair manner.
We work closely with our key suppliers and partners and engage regularly to further strengthen relationships. As with all large businesses, we publish information about our supplier payment practices and performance.
We treat all our customers fairly and consistently, with transparent and standardised pricing and business practices.
We have zero tolerance to any aspect of bribery and corruption, both within our business and in respect of any third parties with whom we have dealings. We have an established anti-bribery and corruption policy and procedures in place including reporting of gifts and hospitality, standard contractual clauses with suppliers and annual online compliance training for all employees.
Each year, our employees complete compliance training that covers fraud, bribery, anti-money laundering, information security and GDPR.
We have a culture of transparency and openness and encourage our employees to speak up whenever they have any concerns or experience any serious malpractice or wrongdoing in our business. We provide a whistleblowing helpline through an independent organisation, which is anonymous and confidential. Reports are directed to the Audit Committee chairman and the Company Secretary.
Protecting human rights and equal opportunity
We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and treating all our employees and job applicants fairly and equally. It is our policy not to discriminate based on gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability or age, pregnancy, or trade union membership or the fact that they are a part-time worker or a fixed-term employee. The equal opportunities policy operated by the Group ensures all workers have a duty to act in accordance with this.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and are committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships, and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure modern slavery is not taking place anywhere in our own business or in any of our supply chains. We expect the same high standards from all our contractors, suppliers and other business partners.