Faulty fuel pump and missed service

The consumer’s issue:

“I would like to make a complaint against my car’s seller, manufacturer and warranty provider. I purchased a used car in 2008 with an extended warranty, but the retailer did not supply me with a copy of the warranty’s terms and conditions. Moreover, the car did not have a full service history, so it should not have been sold to me under the Approved Used scheme.

In 2017, I took the car to the dealership because it broke down. I paid them to repair the vehicle, but shortly after, the fault returned. They inspected the car again and told me that it had a fault with the fuel pump, but it would not be repaired under warranty. In addition, my warranty is now void because of a missed service – I didn’t book the car in for a service because the service light did not turn on and the dealership did not send me a reminder.

The dealership offered to scrap my vehicle and to give me a discount on a new car because they said it was so badly damaged that it could not be repaired. However, they didn’t tell me that the terms in the paperwork meant I was selling them the first car and buying a second. I only agreed to the small amount offered for the car because I thought it was going to be scrapped. It’s unfair that the dealership went on to repair it and to sell it on for a profit. As a result, I want to be paid a fair amount for the value of the first car, and to return the current vehicle, which I was forced to buy because of their failure to tell me that the first one needed a service, thereby causing the car to develop a faulty fuel line. Overall, I would like compensation for the loss in value for the first car and to return the second car for a refund.”

The accredited business’ response:

First car

  • The customer purchased the car from us in 2008.
  • Nearly 10 years later, in 2017, they returned the car because of a breakdown.
  • We inspected the vehicle, and found that the lift pump and in-line pump were at fault. We replaced the pumps and the fuel filter, plus we noted there was debris inside the fuel tank, so we recommended that the tank and fuel lines should be cleaned out. However, the customer declined our recommendation.
  • Around 100 miles after completing the repairs, the car was recovered to us because of a breakdown. We inspected the car and found the entire fuel system was contaminated with metal particles, and the car now required a full replacement of the fuel system.
  • The manufacturer turned down the goodwill warranty claim because the fault was caused by external influences and the car did not have a full service history.
  • In 2017, after liaising with the manufacturer, we settled the complaint with the customer by making a cash payment of £3,000, in addition to a £2,500 part exchange value towards a new car.
  • At no point did we tell the customer that the car would be sent to the scrapyard.
  • The terms under which we took the first car back, are stated in the document that the customer signed.

Second car

  • Around eight months after the customer was provided with the second car, they returned with a punctured tyre and asked for it to be replaced for free.
  • We declined to replace the tyre without cost because we are not liable for a puncture in the customer’s tyre.
  • At this point, the customer raised a complaint stating that they were unhappy with the earlier settlement agreement.
  • Overall, we do not accept that the consumer has grounds for further compensation or to reject the second car.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator was unable to consider a complaint against the manufacturer or extended warranty provider, because the manufacturer and extended warranty had expired, and the car had not been serviced as required under the terms of the warranty.
  • The adjudicator was unable to consider whether the quality or service history of the first car was in breach of the sales contract, because under the Limitation Act 1980, the customer had six years to submit such a contractual claim.
  • However, the consumer submitted their claim to us 10 years after the car was sold, meaning that the adjudicator was unable to consider this issue.

First car

  • The complaint was investigated under The Motor Ombudsman’s Service and Repair Code in order to determine whether the business had used reasonable care and skill during the workmanship provided in 2017.
  • In regards to the customer’s complaint that, during the repair works the dealership had failed to remind the customer that the car should be serviced, the adjudicator found that the car owner has the sole responsibility of servicing their car according to the manufacturer’s service schedule.
  • Therefore, the dealership did not have an obligation to remind the customer that their car needs a service. As such, the actions of the dealership was not found to be in breach of The Motor Ombudsman’s Code of Practice.
  • In regards to the customer’s complaint that the business failed to repair the car correctly in 2017, the adjudicator found that the damage was caused by debris in the fuel system, which the dealership had noted, thereby recommending further repairs. Despite the customer declining them, the dealership had acted with reasonable care and skill.
  • In terms of the customer’s complaint that the business had lied about scrapping the car, and that it misled the customer about its value, the adjudicator found that the signed documents clearly showed that the consumer was agreeing to sell the car as a part-exchange.
  • Additionally, considering that the vehicle was severely damaged at the time of the part exchange, the adjudicator did not find that the consumer had been misled about its value.

Second car

  • In response to the customer’s complaint that they were misled, or were unduly influenced during the purchase of a new car, The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator did not find that the business had engaged in selling practices that fell below the expected standard.


  • The customer did not accept the adjudication outcome based on the above, and requested a final decision from the ombudsman.