The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a brand-new saloon car in March 2017. Almost three years later, in January 2020, I found that both of the front alloy wheels had developed an identical hairline crack on the inside of the rim. The car had only covered 39,000 miles, so I raised a claim under the manufacturer’s warranty. However, they declined it because they believed the damage to the alloys was due to an impact.
I cannot see if that is the case and, considering the crack is on the same on both wheels, I feel it’s a manufacturing defect. I’m very unhappy that the claim was declined, and I’d like the manufacturer to cover the cost of repairing or replacing the two affected wheels.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The vehicle’s alloy wheels were inspected by a technician at one of our franchise dealerships in January 2020, where the erosion and cracks were both assessed;
- It was noted that the car was three years old and had covered 39,000 miles.
- From the inspection of the wheels, it was deemed the damage was caused by an external influence and not a manufacturing defect, as the issue would have surfaced a lot earlier had it been an inherent fault.
- We confirmed to the consumer that, because the technician had diagnosed the issue as being the result of an external influences, such as an impact, we were unable to cover the cost of repairs under warranty, as these are excluded under the terms.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator took into consideration the age and mileage of the vehicle at the time of the defect becoming apparent, and pointed out that, if there was a manufacturing fault with the wheels, it was likely that it would have been noticed earlier;
- Whilst he accepted that the cracks were similar, there was insufficient evidence to suggest that the damage to the alloy wheels was a result of a poor workmanship or materials used during the manufacturing process.
- The dealership had also diagnosed the issue as being an external influence, and this was supported by the manufacturer’s own warranty team.
- Based on the evidence provided by both parties, the adjudicator found no breach of the New Car Code, and the consumer’s complaint was not upheld.
- The consumer and manufacturer accepted the outcome as recommended by The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator and the case was closed.