The consumer’s issue:
“I made an enquiry about a vehicle and was sent a video by the sales representative. In the video, he noted there were no marks on the bodywork, but pointed out issues with the alloy wheels. I noticed he avoided the back panel, but could see what looked like a mark, so I asked about this. He told me he couldn’t be sure, as it was a video, but explained that there were no marks or scratches. On this basis, I went to view the vehicle which was some distance away from home. When I arrived, it was immediately noticeable that the vehicle had a deep scratch on the back panel. The business offered me £250 off the price as an apology. To resolve this issue, I am looking to be compensated for my time, the inconvenience caused, and for the fuel used to drive to and from the viewing of the vehicle.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We can advise that the customer was aware of the damage to the vehicle, and did contact the branch prior to visiting the branch to advise that he was still interested in the vehicle.
- The customer was offered a discount off the price of the vehicle due to the noted damage, but chose to decline this offer.
- We deem the consumer’s claim to be unfounded in as much as they were aware of the damage after having seen it on the video sent by the branch. It was also viewed on the day before the customer came to the business.
- The customer was unhappy that the business refused to further discount the vehicle during the sales negotiations. They are entitled to try and negotiate the best price possible, but there is no obligation on our part to reduce the prices to such a level that we make no profit on the sale.
- The consumer has also claimed compensation for fuel, time and inconvenience, none of which has been quantified in any way.
- As a gesture of goodwill, we are happy to consider reimbursing the cost of the fuel, but this is not to be taken as any admission of liability on our part and will be in full and final settlement. The amount we have in mind is £50.
The adjudication outcome:
- The adjudicator noted that The Motor Ombudsman does not award compensation for losses which are not easily quantifiable such as time, inconvenience or stress. If a consumer has suffered a demonstrable financial loss due to the actions of an accredited business, they can award that back and support a gesture of goodwill.
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator considered that the business has not abided by their obligations in respect of the Vehicle Sales Code, and the consumer has made a decision based on a representation which was not true.
- As such, the most appropriate remedy in this case was to reimburse the consumer for the fuel and wear on their existing vehicle for the travel that would have not been necessary had the business been upfront about the damage in the video.
- The business has offered £50 in respect of this, but having reviewed the postcodes between the consumer’s home and the business, they are 132 miles apart. The consumer travelled both ways, and HMRC states a reimbursement of £0.25 per mile for fuel and wear and tear for this kind of travel.
- Therefore, the consumer was awarded £66 as opposed to the initial £50 offered.
- The business accepted the outcome and The Motor Ombudsman was awaiting the consumer’s acceptance.