The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a used ‘16-plate saloon from a dealership in January 2018. When driving the vehicle home, I discovered it was suffering from vibration and noise when braking. The next day, I reported this to the seller, and they asked me to take it to my nearest dealership to diagnose and repair the issue.
Over the course of the year that followed, the car went into that dealership a dozen times with the same problem, and it never seemed to have been repaired. In March 2019, an independent inspection was carried out, which confirmed that there was a severe vibration requiring further investigation. The dealership then replaced the brake discs and told me that this cured the issue. However, I have no faith that the fault has been fixed, as it normally takes around 3,000 miles of driving for it to reappear.
I have tried to get the problem rectified on several occasions, but it appears there is no solution for this car. The fault has taken countless hours to deal with, which has caused me serious inconvenience. In order to resolve the matter, I would like to return the car and to get my deposit back. I am also looking for compensation due to the distress this matter has caused. The issue has been ongoing for over a year now, and it’s completely unacceptable.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We have had three independent inspections carried out on this vehicle at our cost.
- The first inspection, on 14th March 2019, at a mileage of 23,500 miles, confirmed that there was excessive vibration felt through the brake pedal when the vehicle was slowing from a speed of 50 mph.
- We replaced the front brake discs following advice from the independent inspector.
- The car was then re-assessed by the engineer on 17th April 2019, at a mileage of 24,573, and again on 7th May 2019 where the car had covered 24,600 miles.
- The second and third inspections showed the vibration had been cured and there were no further faults with the vehicle.
- The consumer was kept mobile throughout and was not asked to contribute in any way to the inspections or the repairs.
- The last time we saw the car was in October 2019 for a routine service and, as part of a safety recall, we updated the engine control unit software. However, no issues were reported with the vehicle at this time.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator found that the brakes did suffer a fault, as the first independent inspection determined the brake discs had failed and caused excessive vibration through the brake pedal.
- However, the second and third independent inspections found that the vibration had been eliminated, and there were no further issues with the vehicle
- This therefore suggested that the business carried out successful repairs and fulfilled its obligations under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Sales.
- Whilst the consumer did not believe the repairs had fully resolved the problem, there was no evidence to demonstrate that this was correct, as the independent inspector had not been able to replicate the fault again and no issues had been raised at the service completed in October 2019.
- Without evidence, such as a technical report, to confirm the vehicle was suffering from a fault, it had to be concluded that the vehicle was currently of satisfactory quality and, as the consumer had received a free-of-charge repair and been kept mobile, no further remedy was due to them.
- As such, although the vehicle was initially not of satisfactory quality, the accredited business had taken the appropriate steps to rectify the situation and there was no further breach of the Vehicle Sales Code. The complaint was therefore not upheld in the consumer’s favour, meaning that they were not eligible for a rejection or refund.
- Neither party responded to the decision within the time frames given, so the case was closed.