The consumer’s issue:
“I bought a used car which came with a free six-month warranty, and I had a problem with leaking coolant. This was initially diagnosed as the expansion tank cap, but the extended warranty provider refused to pay for either the cap or the diagnosis because it wasn’t a covered component. A further issued was then identified, which was that the expansion tank was warped and required replacement. However, by the time that this had been diagnosed, the warranty had expired and the extended warranty provider refused to pay my claim. However, I would like the extended warranty provider to pay for the expansion tank as this was a continuation of an existing claim, not a new one.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The claim for the expansion tank cap was not covered as it is not a listed component, and we will only pay for claims where a listed component is at fault.
- We also cannot consider the claim for the expansion tank as it was submitted after the guarantee had expired.
- As such, we’re not able to assist the customer with their claim.
The adjudication outcome:
- The adjudicator didn’t uphold the customer’s complaint based on the evidence provided.
- Having reviewed the terms and conditions, the adjudicator was happy that the expansion tank cap was not a listed component and was therefore not covered.
- She also deemed the tank and cap to be two separate components, as the cap could be replaced by itself.
- There were four weeks between the claims for the cap and the expansion tank, and therefore, this was considered to be a new issue, even though it was likely related to the initial leak.
- The consumer agreed that the cap wasn’t covered, but disagreed that there were two separate claims and asked for a final decision from the ombudsman on this point.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman agreed with the adjudicator that the claims, whilst potentially linked to the same issue, were separate.
- The lifecycle of a claim is the reporting of a fault, a diagnosis and a repair.
- The consumer had reported a coolant leak, the garage diagnosed that a new expansion tank cap was required and the car was repaired. At that point, the extended warranty provider would have closed the claim as they would have reasonably believed that the issue had been resolved.
- If the expansion tank cap hadn’t seemingly resolved the issue, and the diagnosis period had taken the car outside of the warranty period, the ombudsman would have expected the extended warranty provider to pay the claim, but that wasn’t the case here.
- As there was no breach of The Motor Ombudsman’s Vehicle Warranty Products Code, an award could not be made to the consumer.
- The complaint was not upheld and the extended warranty provider was not asked to pay towards the claim.