The consumer’s issue:
“The hinges on my van don’t work properly, and there were two incidents where a gust of wind blew back the door further than it should go. One was where it hit the body of the van, and the other was where a colleague opened the door too far and hit another vehicle, causing £400 of damage. I’m looking for £2,000 from the business so that I can repair the van and be compensated for the damage caused to the other car.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The consumer contacted us by letter with a complaint regarding the door hinges on their van.
- A gust of wind took hold of the door and damaged the hinges and panel.
- Another vehicle was damaged due to the resulting impact, and the consumer was referred to their insurance company.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator upheld the complaint on the basis that a door should be able to withstand a gust of wind, and the manufacturer had provided no technical evidence to demonstrate why they had declined the warranty claim.
- As such, it was unreasonable for them to refuse to help the consumer further.
- The manufacturer disagreed with the adjudicator, as the consumer had never visited a dealership so they’d never had a chance to inspect the vehicle, and a gust of wind is not a warrantable issue.
- The complaint was therefore referred to the ombudsman for a final decision.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman didn’t agree that the door hinges should be covered under warranty.
- That’s because the consumer hadn’t visited a dealership to get the van diagnosed, which is the first step of any warranty process.
- At this point in time, the manufacturer couldn’t provide any technical evidence as the van hadn’t been inspected, and the consumer, although they said the van had been inspected, couldn’t provide any proof of this.
- On the basis that there was no technical evidence to tell the ombudsman what had happened, she didn’t uphold the case in the consumer’s favour.
- However, the response to the consumer’s complaint, and subsequently to The Motor Ombudsman, was poor, as it didn’t explain that the consumer should visit a dealership and it just declined the claim without allowing him to follow the correct process.
- The manufacturer offered £50 in vouchers as a gesture of goodwill, which the ombudsman felt was a reasonable resolution to this element of the complaint.
- The case was therefore partially upheld in the consumer’s favour.
- The customer accepted the vouchers and the case was closed.