It has been a bit a bit quiet on here – and there has been a good reason for it! I would like to tell you a story:
We had been working with our legal advisor for a while to rewrite our membership agreement after launching the points model. During one of the (many) calls with him last November, he suggested that we really should be talking to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as he felt that our terms meant that we may need to get authorisation to operate. The FCA are a very powerful regulator who can shut companies down, fine company directors or even send them to prison so they are not to be trifled with!
Little did we know just how much effort that conversation would take to resolve over the next 7 months… And that we weren’t allowed to do any marketing or selling during the application process.
It soon became clear, because they told us, that this was a unique business model that they hadn’t seen before. That is a good thing and a bad thing. On the upside, it means that we really are the only company offering a service like MotorhomeShare. On the downside, it meant that they looked at all aspects of the business, all of our documentation, our financial viability, our contracts with our suppliers, how we do are marketing and asked lots and lots of questions. They checked on how we deal with arrears and cancelling memberships to make sure that our proposals all conform with the FCA Treating Customers Fairly framework.
Finally, after much waiting, quite a lot of frustration and stress, we got an email last week saying that we had been authorised by the FCA and will be subject to their ongoing regulation. This is great news as it means that we can start marketing again. Also, we are seeing it as a stamp of approval from the regulator that shows that we are trustworthy and sustainable as a business and should improve the confidence that potential customers can have in us.
Now the proper work of sending people on adventures can begin!