The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a 10-year-old used cabriolet in August 2018, but two months later, my car was involved in an accident. After some of the repairs were completed, I was told to take the vehicle to a dealership so they could repair the rest of the bodywork and investigate a few technical issues. It took until December 2018 for the car to be fully repaired, and I was told everything was fixed so I went to pick it up. But, when I collected the car, I tried to operate the fabric roof, but I found the right side to be completely blocked. I’d never had this problem before, so I complained to the business, but they refused to take liability for the damage.
After taking the car back, I found that when I was driving it, it was ‘jumping’ around and didn’t feel very stable. As such, in January 2019, I had a vehicle health check carried out by a third-party garage. They informed me that my rear brake light wasn’t working properly and that both of my front headlights were broken. I’m really concerned about why the dealership didn’t tell me that the front headlights were broken, and I think they haven’t fixed the car properly. I am really scared to drive my car as it is not safe for me or others, and it’s still ‘jumping’.
I am thus seeking help to resolve all the issues I am experiencing with my car. I would like the dealership to repair the roof, sort out the ‘jumping’ and fix the broken headlights free of charge.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The consumer brought their car into our dealership in December 2018.
- We replaced the battery, the lower left axle arm of the front axle and the lower right axle arm of the right axle.
- We completed the repairs and the consumer took the car back. At that time, we weren’t told about any problems with the car ‘jumping’, the roof being blocked or about the issues with the front or rear lights.
- In January 2019, the consumer was told by another dealership about the problems with the rear light and front headlamps, and was informed that work was essential, as the headlights were broken, and the brake light wasn’t working.
- We didn’t find any fault with the headlights or rear light at the time we repaired the car.
- The consumer claimed that the car had a full-service history, but we have nothing on our system to suggest this.
- We would be happy to inspect the vehicle to look at the roof and the ‘jumping’, but we’re not taking any liability for these issues.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator considered the Service and Repair Code of Practice and relevant law, which states that the dealership has an obligation to use reasonable skill and care when conducting a repair or service.
- The evidential burden fell on the consumer to demonstrate that the ‘jumping’, broken roof and faulty headlamps were directly related to the workmanship of the business.
- In regard to the ‘jumping’ of the car, the consumer hadn’t demonstrated that the jumping existed, or what could possibly be causing the fault.
- The consumer certainly hadn’t been able to show that the dealership had caused or contributed to the fault, or that they hadn’t properly repaired the car, so the adjudicator couldn’t ask the dealership to do anything further in terms of a remedy.
- The adjudicator found that, because the dealership hadn’t yet been able to check the roof, he was unable to comment on the fault, and said the consumer should take the car back to the business so they could assess the damage and the possible next steps.
- Finally, when it came to the headlights, the dealership had provided a health check video that showed that, at the time of repairing the vehicle, they hadn’t been able to identify a fault with them;
- It was therefore difficult for the adjudicator to hold the dealership liable for the problem.
- Based on the evidence presented by both parties, the adjudicator could not uphold the case in the consumer’s favour.
- Neither party provided a response to the adjudication outcome, and the case was closed.