The consumer’s issue:
“I bought an electric car from a dealership with the assistance of a finance agreement. Prior to and during the purchase, I discussed with the business my need to use the car for long journeys, and they assured me the car had a 33% larger battery than the previous model I owned, therefore better suiting my requirements. However, soon after collection, I decided to take the car on a long journey and have discovered that its range decreased between charges and charging time increased. I also found out that the manufacturer had introduced a rapid charging constraint to preserve the battery life. I was not aware of this before I bought it, and my journey has now been extended by three hours. Had I known this, I would not have chosen this car and I would therefore like to reject it.”
The accredited business’ response:
- It’s unclear if the complaint is against us or the manufacturer.
- We’ve been in communication with the consumer since the car was purchased. We also understand why the consumer felt the need to complain, but can confirm the car is performing as designed.
The adjudication outcome:
- The adjudicator didn’t think he had enough evidence to show that the consumer had discussed usage with the dealership prior to purchase. This meant that the consumer’s complaint was not upheld.
- The customer disagreed with the adjudication outcome and asked for an ombudsman to review the case for a final decision.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman noted this wasn’t the consumer’s first electric car, so she concluded on a balance, it was more likely than not that a conversation about the usage had taken place.
- The customer had made specific reference to the size of the battery, and that it was larger than his previous one, so again, the ombudsman thought it was very likely this was discussed prior to purchase.
- The fact that the manufacturer had limited the battery’s ability for rapid charging with the new model, thus extended the consumer’s journey time, is something that the dealership should have made the consumer aware of prior to selling the car to them.
- The ombudsman also said that the consumer complained and asked for rejection within the first 30 days, and this was also indicative that usage is likely to have been discussed. Therefore, rejection would have been a suitable resolution in the circumstances.
- However, the ombudsman noted that, in the time between the adjudicator’s assessment and the final decision, the consumer had settled the finance agreement and sold the car. As the vehicle was no longer in the consumer’s possession, rejection wasn’t possible and no other remedy was appropriate.
- The adjudication outcome was upheld and no award was made to the consumer.
- Both parties agreed with the ombudsman’s final decision, and the case was closed.