The consumer’s issue:
“I have a two-year warranty with my vehicle. However, my car was not functioning properly, and my garage advised me that it was a wheel bearing and that the cost of repair would be covered by my warranty policy. Therefore, I left my car with them to have the problem remedied. When the garage submitted the warranty claim, the warranty company refused because the fault was not a “sudden stoppage” and was therefore not deemed to be a mechanical breakdown in their opinion.
Based on this feedback, I had no other option but to pay for the repairs. Nevertheless, I believe that the cost of these should be covered under the warranty and that the terms and conditions of the warranty agreement are unfair.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The customer’s repairing garage informed our claims team that the fault was due to a noisy near side rear (NSR) wheel bearing when driving.
- We declined the claim as the noisy wheel bearing had no sudden stoppage in function as the customer was able to continue driving the vehicle.
- The customer’s repairing garage confirmed that the wheel bearing was noisy and rough in rotation which would not be considered a sudden mechanical failure.
- Since there is no evidence of sudden mechanical failure, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the customer’s warranty agreement, the claim was correctly declined.
The adjudication outcome:
- Under the warranty agreement, the warranty provider is only obliged to cover repair costs when a covered component suffers a sudden mechanical failure – a sudden stoppage of function, for a reason other than wear and tear, deterioration or negligence.
- The warranty company is not obliged to cover repair costs for a component which does not suffer a sudden mechanical stoppage even if the current state of the component means it would fail an MOT test.
- The wheel bearing did not suffer a sudden stoppage in function, but instead, there was a gradual process of wearing to a complete failure. Therefore, the adjudicator concluded that under the terms of the warranty agreement, the warranty provider did not have a contractual obligation to cover the repair costs, and no award was subsequently made to the consumer.
- The adjudicator also found that the wording of the terms and conditions of the warranty agreement were fair.
- The customer accepted the outcome, and the case was closed.