The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a seven-year-old estate in August 2018. The dealership I bought the car from also provided a three-month extended warranty in case it suffered from a future mechanical or electrical failure.
Around three months later, a fault developed with the air conditioning unit. I took the car for an investigation and repairs under warranty to a manufacturer-approved dealership. They said the compressor had failed and needed to be replaced. They also advised that the air conditioning receiver drier had to be changed because the car was over five years old, and this was recommended by the manufacturer.
I made a claim to the warranty provider for the repair, but they only authorised the replacement of the compressor, but refused to cover the cost of the receiver drier. I don’t think this is fair because if it wasn’t for the compressor fault, the receiver drier wouldn’t have needed to be replaced either, and the warranty on the compressor would have been invalidated if the receiver drier wasn’t replaced also. I’m therefore looking for the warranty provider to reimburse me the £209 I paid towards the cost of this repair.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We covered the cost of replacing the compressor, as this was the only part that was included under the warranty which the consumer had in place.
- There was no fault with the receiver drier, and the repairing dealership only recommended its replacement as good practice.
- The warranty was a listed component policy, and the receiver drier wasn’t stated on the agreement.
- As a result, we don’t believe we have done anything wrong, and we won’t be providing any further reimbursement to the consumer for the cost of the repair.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator reviewed the evidence, but didn’t think there had been any breach of The Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products.
- The adjudicator said the terms and conditions of the warranty were clearly laid out and that the receiver drier wasn’t listed, meaning it was not a covered component.
- As such, the warranty provider had declined the claim in accordance with the warranty terms and conditions, and the adjudicator was therefore unable to uphold the complaint.
- The consumer remained unhappy with the adjudicator’s assessment and asked for an ombudsman to review their case.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman reviewed the information provided by both parties, and concluded that the warranty provider had not breached the Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products.
- She empathised with the consumer, but she said that the warranty provider’s obligations were limited to the terms and conditions of the policy.
- The ombudsman reviewed the warranty document and noted that only the compressor was covered by the warranty. She said the warranty also specifically stated that only the listed parts were covered under the terms of the agreement.
- The ombudsman said the air conditioning unit was made up of several different parts, such as the compressor, receiver drier, condenser and evaporator, but only the compressor was covered by the warranty.
- She acknowledged that the manufacturer recommended that the receiver drier be replaced when the car is over five years old and the air conditioning unit is opened. However, she also said that it was the consumer’s responsibility to maintain their vehicle in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- The ombudsman explained that an extended warranty isn’t there to cover repairs which may be advised and / or recommended by a manufacturer, and that cover is limited to the warranty’s own terms and conditions
- She said the warranty provider had acted according to the warranty terms and conditions by covering the compressor costs, but were not responsible for any associated costs incurred for the receiver drier replacement.
- Therefore, the ombudsman did not uphold the complaint in the consumer’s favour.
- Neither party responded to the decision and the case was closed.