The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a new hatchback in March 2019, and eight months later, in November 2019, with 22,541 miles on the clock, a warning message stating ‘Battery low, start vehicle’ came up on the dashboard. I took my vehicle to a dealership on three separate occasions, and on each visit, no fault was found. The business has refused to provide me with an explanation of the issue, and they don’t seem to understand what’s actually wrong with my car.
In my opinion, all parties involved are avoiding accountability and a resolution to the dispute. I either want my vehicle to be fully fixed, if defective, or a full technical explanation as to why the issue occurred if there’s nothing wrong with it.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We contacted the dealership that looked at the vehicle, and they confirmed that they had seen it on three separate occasions due to the “Battery low, start vehicle” message on the dashboard.
- During each visit, the battery was tested, and was found to be operating as per our specification.
- As the dealership carried out the battery checks, they liaised with our technical team, who came to the same conclusion regarding the battery.
- We carried out in-depth diagnostics, which confirmed there was no manufacturing or material defect despite the warning message illuminating.
- It was also confirmed that the dashboard message appeared as a warning for the driver to start the engine, so that the battery did not drain to a point where it could go flat.
- The diagnostics showed that the customer may have been sat in the vehicle in stop mode with only the ignition on and with the engine off, thus leading to the appearance of the dashboard message.
- The warning can appear for a variety of reasons, and work on an algorithm including, but not limited to outside temperatures, the type of battery and what control units are live at that time.
- We therefore concluded that there was no fault with the customer’s battery.
- We also recommended that all aftermarket devices are disconnected from the vehicle when not in use, as the car has not been designed to accommodate them.
The adjudication outcome:
- The manufacturer only has an obligation to cover the cost of rectifying the fault highlighted on the dashboard when the issue is caused by a manufacturing defect.
- Based on the evidence provided by both parties, the warning message on the dashboard did not appear because of a manufacturing defect. Therefore, there was no obligation to fix the issue.
- The adjudicator reviewed the evidence provided by the consumer and the business, and found no breach of the Code of Practice for New Cars.
- This was because the adjudicator found no tangible evidence supporting the consumer’s argument that the vehicle was faulty, and the explanation provided for why this warning was being displayed was sufficient.
- Therefore, the adjudicator did not uphold this case in the consumer’s favour.
- Neither party responded to the decision, and the case was closed.