Defective starter clutch

The consumer’s issue:

An employee in customer services at the vehicle manufacturer put in writing that the warranty for my car was for a period of three years or 90,000 miles. However, I have recently been advised that it is now seven years or 100,000 miles. I reported a defect with the starter clutch when the car was five years and ten months old, and with 19,000 miles on the clock. The manufacturer keeps referring to the current age of the vehicle. However, the dealership was advised of the fault when the vehicle was still in warranty, and chose not to tell me about the extension.

In my view, the dealer is an agent for the manufacturer and owes me a duty of care. Had I known about the extended warranty which the business did not tell me about, I would have been able to claim under the policy and would not have incurred the repair costs that I did.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • Repairs to the customer’s vehicle were made in August 2013 and January 2014.
  • At the time the customer contacted us in February 2017, he was advised that his car was more than two and a half years outside of the extended warranty, but we offered to cover the cost of the part and two and half hours’ worth of labour.
  • In March 2017, the customer was advised that our goodwill offer was final and that no further assistance could be made at this time.

The adjudication outcome:

  • It was considered that the vehicle manufacturer’s liability under the warranty and its extension was to ensure that the customer’s vehicle remained in a state of order for the duration of that period.
  • This included both repairs, which resulted in no complaint until two and a half years after the original warranty ended and the extension to the warranty had passed.
  • The terms of the New Car Code were therefore met by the vehicle manufacturer as they ensured the vehicle was repaired to a set standard for the duration of the cover and a reasonable period thereafter.
  • The consumer was advised they may take further action against the advice given by the repairer, or could look at action against any parties involved in the sale. However, being a private sale, the latter may be limited.


  • The consumer was advised that there was no breach of the New Car Code in terms of the actions taken by the manufacturer, and their claim was therefore not upheld.
  • The consumer may however pursue their claim with the diagnosing dealer to follow a line of complaint relating to any advice given or not provided.