The consumer’s issue:
“After I bought my car, it was found to be defective. I was therefore supplied with a courtesy vehicle for a period of two months, as there was a delay in the supply of parts to fix my car.
The customer service from the seller was appalling, and despite repeat chasing on my part, nobody has taken ownership of my complaint to try to resolve it. I contacted the manufacturer of my car hoping for a swift resolution, but despite receiving an acknowledgement of my correspondence, I never received any response.
I am therefore seeking a courtesy car of the same specification as the vehicle that I bought, as well as goodwill for the inconvenience, stress, and worry that has been caused. I also want my money back for the calls and emails I have sent to various departments during this whole debacle.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The customer contacted us on 07th March 2018 regarding her concerns. This initially started as a part supply issue, but on fitting the replacement component, the problem was not rectified.
- The consumer mentioned that the light on the dashboard reappeared. However, no booking date was given to us to follow this up, and we have had no further contact with them since August.
- The case was therefore closed with us in August after our goodwill gestures were declined by the customer.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator noted that, under the New Car Code, a vehicle manufacturer is only liable for their warranty, its terms, and the parts supply chain.
- In line with the Vehicle Sales Code, it is up to the retailer to ensure the quality of the car and its components at the point of sale.
- In terms of the consumer not getting a courtesy car of the same standard as that which they paid for, there is no obligation for the manufacturer to provide any courtesy mobility.
- If one is provided, the Code does require it to be a “reasonable alternative” to the customer’s car (although, depending on the terms and conditions of the warranty, this may not be an exact replacement).
- The adjudicator considered this should mean that the vehicle should have an equal number of seats and serve the same basic purpose in terms of transport, but does not necessarily need to be a like-for-like.
- The consumer could look at pursuing such a claim with their retailer or finance company, both of whom are legally separate entities to the manufacturer.
- The contact from the manufacturer was deemed to be sufficiently in line with what is set out in the New Car Code, so no reimbursement for the calls made by the customer was considered.
- It was apparent the consumer had not involved the manufacturer as much as the retailer, who was the main cause of the frustration in the dealing with the complaint. As a result, it was found under the New Car Code, that the manufacturer could be held accountable for actions that should be directed to the retailer under the Vehicle Sales Code.
- With regards to the breach of the Code for the delay in supply of parts, the vehicle manufacturer was liable for considering an extension of the term of the warranty if the customer was not able to use their car, and would be a suitable remedy under the New Car Code.
- If the consumer had any further issues with the vehicle, they may be considered for warranty repairs.
- In addition, if the customer wished to claim for any further reimbursements, these would need to be directed to the retailer, and could be dealt with under The Motor Ombudsman’s Vehicle Sales Code.
- The parties accepted The Motor Ombudsman’s adjudication outcome, and the consumer was advised to contact their retailer regarding the costs they were claiming for.
- However, no additional cases were subsequently raised by the customer under the Vehicle Sales Code.