The consumer’s issue:
“I took my ’53-plate saloon to a dealership in February 2019 so that an airbag recall could be completed. However, when I picked up the car, I noticed a very large crack in the dashboard. I raised it with the business straightaway, but they told me that the damage had been noted during their check of the vehicle, and must have been there when I brought it to them.
I know this is not right, as I take good care of my car and would have noticed this crack. I am therefore looking for the dealership to take responsibility for the damage and to pay to have it rectified.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The consumer raised her concern with us shortly after we completed the replacement of her passenger side airbag under the manufacturer’s recall.
- The matter was investigated, but we found that the technician who had completed the recall work had noted the dashboard crack on the job card. This was also brought to the consumer’s attention before work began, and the consumer signed the job card to acknowledge this.
- We explained to the customer that, while we wouldn’t accept responsibility for the dashboard damage, we could, at her cost, arrange the replacement of the dashboard with a used part if it became available.
The adjudication outcome:
- After reviewing the submissions of both parties, the adjudicator noted that the consumer had provided a photograph of the crack in the dashboard, which showed it was a large and obvious crack that would have been clear to anyone who looked at the instrument panel.
- He also acknowledged that, while the job card did note the dashboard crack, and that the consumer had signed this, it was not clear this note was present at the time the customer signed this document and it could have been added afterwards.
- The adjudicator also reviewed the consumer’s correspondence with the repairer immediately after the recall repairs, and considered their actions since the incident, and was satisfied these indicated the customer wasn’t informed of the dashboard crack and only discovered it when they collected their vehicle.
- As the recall repairs involved the removal of the dashboard, the adjudicator felt the repairer ought to have noted and agreed any existing dashboard damage before commencing repairs.
- After considering the available evidence, the adjudicator was of the opinion that the dealership had not been able to demonstrate that the consumer was made aware of the dashboard damage before starting the repairs, and that the dealership should cover the cost of replacing the dashboard.
- However, as the consumer’s car had 85,000 miles on the clock at the time of the damage occurring, the dealership didn’t have to fit a brand new part and was advised to locate a dashboard in as near as possible a comparable condition as the damaged component.
- Following the adjudication, the dealership and consumer reached a mutually acceptable resolution, with the consumer being provided with £350 in compensation to reflect her losses, and the case was closed.