The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a new small van in March 2021, and six months later, fault lights appeared on the dashboard. I took the vehicle to a franchise dealership to have the problem investigated in order to identify the underlying cause.
It was established that the fault was due to fact that three separate cables for the front and rear brakes, and exhaust, had been chewed and disconnected by rodents. Therefore, I do not believe that these components are fit for purpose, because the materials on the cables are coated in some sort of animal by-product which attracts other species.
As a resolution to my compliant, I am looking for the three cables to be replaced at no cost to myself under my new vehicle warranty agreement.”
The accredited business’ response:
- Following an inspection of the vehicle by our franchise dealership, it was confirmed that no manufacturing defect was found, as there was evidence of damage from either a rodent or wild animal.
- Therefore, we will be unable to approve the customer’s request for a repair or replacement of the cables under the terms of warranty.
The adjudication outcome:
- Under the New Car Code, the adjudicator stated that the consumer had the burden of demonstrating that the cause of the defect was covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
- They also explained that damage caused by rodents and / or wild animals were considered to be beyond the manufacturer’s control.
- Therefore, the fault was considered to be an external influence, meaning the complaint could not be upheld in the consumer’s favour.
- In these circumstances, the consumer was provided with information to redirect their complaint to the dealership, with whom they had the contract of sale, in respect of their view that the vehicle was not fit for purpose.
- Both the business and consumer accepted the adjudication outcome, and the case was closed.