Corroded alloy wheels

The consumer’s issue:

“I took my car into a dealership as there was corrosion on all four of my alloy wheels. They advised me that they did not believe it to be a defect, but I requested that they send photographs to the vehicle manufacturer. Images were subsequently sent, and I made a call to the vehicle manufacturer who advised me that they will only pay for one wheel to be replaced. When I asked about the other three, they told me that these wheels have failed due to an external factor. I disagree with this and want them to replace all four wheels at no cost to myself.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We only authorised a warranty claim for one of the wheels.
  • We took into consideration, the diagnosis provided by our authorised repairer, also a third party dealership, who confirmed that three of the four wheels had failed due to an external influence.
  • However, we offered replacement wheels at a subsidised cost for these, as well as a repair of one of the wheels that we agreed to cover under warranty as a defect.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator did not uphold the customer’s complaint due to a lack of evidence.
  • In order to obligate the accredited business to honour their warranty obligations, there must be evidence of the failure being a defect.
  • In this case, there was no evidence to support this argument.
  • The third party garage, whilst a main dealer, is independent to the accredited business (vehicle manufacturer) and it is arguably more in their interest to diagnose a defect as this will be revenue for them, than to not. The fact that they could not find a defect, and only diagnosed an external factor, supported the position of the business.
  • The consumer was given the opportunity to provide an independent technical report, so the adjudicator could consider the case further.
  • In the meantime, the case has been closed pending further contact from the consumer.