Damage during possession of customer vehicle

The consumer’s issue:

I bought a car, and within the first few weeks, there were issues. I returned the vehicle and complained to the dealership, and they proceeded to take my car in for the next week. When they gave me back the car, there were other notable problems, and I complained again, and raised a concern at the same time that a recall was outstanding on the vehicle. The car came back after a two-week delay, and there were issues and damage which were not there before. I want the business to fix these new issues at their cost which they have refused to do.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • From the first conversation between the vehicle manufacturer and the customer, we offered to buy the car back straight away.
  • We agreed with the manufacturer that we would collect the car from the customer’s house (70 miles away), and leave him with the equivalent make and model loan car for the duration of the repair.
  • The customer stated that we were not transparent and that we failed to recall the car.
  • The consumer also had an issue with locking the car. We asked him to send us his spare key to update it and refunded the cost of postage cost for doing so, so that he was never out of pocket.
  • After completing the work, we drove the vehicle back to the customer’s house.
  • The consumer called later in the day to say that when inspecting the car, the windscreen had crack in it, and we explained that we would investigate this with our own in-house driver.
  • He was unaware of a crack, but again, because of issues that the customer had so early on with the purchase, we were not going to dispute this and told the vehicle owner, because of the distance involved, we would organise for the customer’s windscreen to be replaced at their house, and that we would cover their £75 insurance excess.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The adjudicator noted that in this case, there was essentially two sets of issues to be addressed. These related the quality of the vehicle and the standard of care when the car was in the business’ possession.
  • In relation to the first concern, it was established that the business was correct to rectify the quality issues at no cost or inconvenience to the consumer.
  • The outstanding issue to consider was whether the business failed to take reasonable care of the vehicle in their possession and caused the damage which was complained about.
  • There were three types of damage raised by the customer: a chip in the windscreen, paint smears in the interior, and a reversing camera which failed to work.
  • The adjudicator decided there was no reasonable explanation for the paint smears, so it was likely caused in the care of the business, considering the areas affected.
  • From the evidence presented, the crack in the windscreen happened in the drive back to the consumer, when the business was in possession of the vehicle. However, they had not taken ill care of the vehicle to cause that chip. It was likely to have happened under any circumstances regardless of who was driving.
  • The reason for the camera failing could not be established as no investigation had occurred to date.


  • The adjudicator concluded that the paint smears should be professionally cleaned to make good the damage caused.
  • The chip was found to not be the business’ fault as they took all reasonable steps to take care of the vehicle. The adjudicator nevertheless found it reasonable for them to help the consumer with the excess for the claim to remove the chip.
  • The adjudicator required further evidence to consider the cause of the camera failure and requested that the parties arrange a convenient time to have this assessed, or for further evidence to be supplied as to the cause of the failure.