The consumer’s issue:
“In October 2019, I was offered a really good deal on an extended warranty agreement for 24 months’ cover for my 65-plate saloon, which I purchased in 2018 for a price of £567. I therefore went ahead, and bought the policy, as I wanted protection for my used vehicle if anything happened to it, and had covered just over 70,000 miles at the time.
During a routine service at a local dealership, I was informed that my vehicle’s coolant thermostat was faulty and needed to be replaced. Having the extended warranty, I contacted the provider to claim for the cost of the repair (£355 including VAT), and supplied all the necessary information. However, the claim was declined.
I challenged the decision, but was informed that, because of the policy’s terms and conditions, cover for the repair of the faulty component could not be provided. As a resolution, I was offered a partial refund, but I declined the offer, and I am looking instead for the business to provide a full refund for the extended warranty or cover the cost of repair of the faulty part.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The consumer purchased a mechanical breakdown agreement, and the breakdown required the vehicle to be recovered to a garage.
- After being contacted by the consumer about a claim for the faulty thermostat, we asked the customer for a copy of their recovery receipt. However, they explained that they were attending a routine service, and there was no reason for the car to be recovered. As a result, we declined the claim.
- We explained to the consumer that the policy states that a breakdown must have occurred at the roadside during the period of the plan, and needed the repair or replacement of a listed part to allow the vehicle to continue its journey.
- The customer appealed the decline of the claim, and explained that they did not recall signing up to the terms of the policy. They also asked for the policy to be cancelled in return for a refund, but we said that the consumer was only entitled to do this had they not lodged a claim.
- As a gesture of goodwill, our finance team offered to cancel the policy, and offered a refund for the remaining months of cover, equating to the sum of £252. Nevertheless, the consumer declined this offer, which they are no longer entitled to as they have had a further six months’ cover.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator noted that the warranty provider was only obliged to cover repair costs when a covered component caused the breakdown of the vehicle at the roadside.
- By the customer’s own admission, they confirmed that they took their car for a service, which is where they found out that the coolant thermostat needed to be replaced. This did not constitute a sudden and unexpected failure of a component.
- Based on the documentation provided, the complaint was not upheld by The Motor Ombudsman in the consumer’s favour due to there being no evidence that a sudden and unexpected failure occurred at the roadside, and that a vehicle rescue operator needed to attend.
- The consumer did not respond to the adjudication outcome, and the case was closed.