The consumer’s issue:
“I have had problems with my SUV after six months of buying the car from a dealership in March 2017. When driving, several warning lights flash up on the dashboard all relating to the parking brake and the engine management. When I then try to use the parking brake’s auto release function, it doesn’t work, and stays on, so I have to release it manually. I took the car in four times to the business, but the manufacturer is now saying I have to pay for the repairs, as it is outside of the warranty period.
Again, in October 2021, my car had dashboard warning lights showing, and another problem with its handbrake, so I took it to another dealership for investigation. They said they couldn’t find any faults, but did find an issue with a split air pipe that I had to pay around £200 to have fixed.
I believe this air pipe failure is the cause of the handbrake issue that has affected my car since its supply to me and, as such, I would like the selling dealership to refund the money I paid to have this fault rectified.”
The accredited business’ response:
- Whilst we can see that the customer has needed to have repairs carried out to their car’s handbrake in the past, each of these has been done at no cost to the consumer under the terms of their warranty.
- In addition, while we have noted the customer’s car did require further repairs in October 2021, we can see that no handbrake fault was found at that time, and the repairs that were needed to the air pipe weren’t related to the previous handbrake work or any defect that was present on the car at the point of sale, over four years and 45,000 miles earlier.
- In fact, the October 2021 air pipe repairs were required due to wear and tear and not anything that occurred previously during the term of the new car warranty.
- As a result, we do not believe any further refund or compensation is due.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator reviewed the evidence, including the records of the warranty repairs the car required since its supply to the consumer. These showed that the vehicle had indeed needed numerous warranty repairs to fix a fault with its handbrake in the past, including the repeated replacement of a brake sensor.
- However, the adjudicator noted there was nothing in the warranty records that suggested the air pipe failure that was found in October 2021 was linked to the handbrake issue or to any other problem that had been investigated or repaired previously.
- He also noted the air pipe failure occurred over four years and 45,000 miles after the car’s sale, which he felt suggested it was unlikely it’d been present at the point of purchase.
- The adjudicator explained that, as he was unable to conclude it was likely the air pipe failure was due to anything that was wrong with the car at the point of sale, rather than just being down to wear and tear, he was unable to suggest the selling dealership was obliged to accept responsibility for its repair.
- Therefore, the complaint was not upheld in the consumer’s favour.
- Both the consumer and the dealership accepted the adjudicator’s findings, and the case was closed.