The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a used ’17 plate hatchback in April 2018. When my car was serviced by an independent garage in August 2019, they found that the shock absorbers were leaking and told me that the repair should be covered under my warranty. I contacted the manufacturer, but they declined to replace the shock absorbers, as they said the leaking was not excessive and was within the permitted tolerances.
The vehicle also suffered from a knocking noise, which needed investigating but, again, the manufacturer refused to investigate this under the warranty. They carried out a visual check, but not a full inspection with a removal of parts.
In order to resolve the complaint, I would like the manufacturer to carry out a proper inspection of the vehicle, rather than just a visual one. I would then like the repairs to the suspension and shock absorbers to be carried out free of charge under the warranty agreement. The manufacturer also said that my three-year warranty had expired, but the issue was actually raised during the term of the agreement.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The vehicle is three years and one month old, and has covered 37,100 miles, which is now outside of the warranty period.
- The consumer did, however, take the vehicle to the independent garage within the term of the warranty, and advised that the shock absorbers needed replacing, and that there was a knocking noise that needed to be resolved.
- Following an inspection at one of our dealerships, the consumer was advised that the shock absorbers were not leaking enough to be replaced. We understand shock absorbers need to be leaking in the region of 60 to 80% to warrant replacement.
- We also acknowledge that the consumer’s expectations of build quality and reliability are high but, unfortunately, parts can fail at any time and can be influenced by driving style or external factors.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator reviewed the evidence and found that, whilst the shock absorbers may have suffered from a fault, the evidence did not demonstrate the cause was due to a manufacturing defect.
- The information presented demonstrated that the shock absorbers were suffering from misting, rather than a leak. This was further evidenced by an MOT test in February 2020, in which the absorbers were flagged up as an advisory;
- Whilst the consumer advised that an independent garage recommended replacement under the manufacturer’s warranty, they unfortunately did not provide any supporting documentation, such as an inspection report or any comments from the business.
- There was also no diagnosis to show that the knocking was being caused by a manufacturing defect, and it was the consumer’s responsibility to have this diagnosis carried out in the first instance.
- Without such evidence, the adjudicator could not find a breach of the New Car Code, meaning that the complaint could not be upheld in the consumer’s favour.
- Neither party responded to the adjudicator’s decision, and the case was closed.