The consumer’s issue:
“I bought a new car and chose the option of heated and cooled seats. However, the heated seats take too long to warm up and it can be as much as 25 minutes before anything is felt. A standard heated seat has a much more reasonable warm-up time, but mine, because they are heated and cooled, are much slower to work. The manufacturer has changed the technology and the new approach is worse. They refuse to admit that this is a design fault and will not change the seats to non-cooling ones. I would however, like them to replace the seats please at no cost.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The seats take longer to heat up due to their architecture, and because they have to accommodate both a heating and cooling function.
- The vehicle has been tested and we have found no fault with it.
- As confirmation has been provided that the seats are working as expected, there is no remedy we can provide.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator did not uphold the complaint as there was no evidence that the seat was faulty.
- The manufacturer’s warranty would also not apply as it only covers the repair of defects.
- The consumer was unhappy with this outcome, as he felt that the design was poor, which was leading to the issues he was experiencing. He therefore requested a final decision from the ombudsman.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman explained that a manufacturer’s warranty solely exists to rectify manufacturing defects – so something that has gone wrong during the building of the vehicle.
- However, the consumer’s car was built as intended and there was no fault with it.
- The customer could contact the seller of the vehicle, as they are the party who is liable for ensuring the car’s quality, that it’s fit for purpose, and as described.
- However, against the manufacturer, no award could be made as there was no fault for them to repair.
- There was deemed to be no breach of The Motor Ombudsman’s New Car Code, and the complaint was therefore not upheld in the consumer’s favour.