Courtesy car unavailability

The consumer’s issue:

I bought a used 69-plate high performance saloon in January 2021, and towards the end of November 2021, a warning light appeared on the dashboard when starting the vehicle. I tried calling my local franchise dealership a total of 26 times on the Saturday, but I was unable to get through to them. On the Monday, I decided to take my car to the business, but they did not have any availability to look at it.

I called the service line again and managed to get a booking for the next day, but I was advised that they did not have any courtesy vehicles until mid-December. Even though this was the case, I decided to have my vehicle looked at by the dealership.

An investigation was carried out, and I was informed that I had a valid warranty claim, and that the vehicle required a new thermostat. There was, however, a two-week delay to obtain the part from the manufacturer, and I was told I would not have use of the vehicle during this time.

I decided to make a complaint, as I was not happy with the service I received at the dealership and did not believe a two-week wait for the repair was reasonable. I therefore asked to be compensated for the cost of a hire car for a fortnight, equating to approximately £900 to £1,000.

The business did not agree to my request and stated they did not have an obligation to provide a courtesy car. As a resolution to my complaint, I am seeking compensation to cover the cost of a hire car, or I would be happy to receive a free service plan in light of what has happened.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • The vehicle was first taken to the dealership on 30th November 2021, and it was confirmed that it required a new thermostat and gaskets for a warranty repair.
  • Due to the nature of the issue, the car needed to remain off the road in order to prevent any further damage to the engine.
  • A courtesy vehicle was offered at the point of the warranty claim acceptance, but the consumer declined this offer.
  • The consumer then contacted the dealership on 13th December 2021 with a request for a courtesy car, but at this point, the dealership did not have one. They advised that the parts were due for delivery the next working day.
  • The repairs were completed on 15th December 2021, and the consumer collected the vehicle the following day.
  • We do not believe the consumer is entitled to any compensation of between £900 to £1000, as our dealership did offer the consumer a courtesy vehicle from the outset, but this offer was declined.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator advised that the vehicle manufacturer does not have an obligation, under the New Car Code, to provide a courtesy vehicle. They also explained that a manufacturer is not legally required to contribute towards any costs incurred for a consumer having to hire a vehicle.
  • It was noted that a courtesy vehicle should be provided as good business practice, if the dealership has availability.
  • In this case, both parties had conflicting statements regarding the courtesy vehicle. Irrespective of this, as the business did not have an obligation, the adjudicator did not conclude that the business had breached the New Car Code.
  • The adjudicator acknowledged that a two-week delay was unfortunate, but there can sometimes be delays when parts need to be ordered directly from the manufacturer.
  • As a result, the consumer’s complaint could not be upheld in their favour.


  • Both parties accepted the adjudication outcome, and the case was closed.