The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a used saloon in May 2015, that was registered in 2011. In 2018, after driving 126,000 miles, I noticed corrosion on the tailgate below the rear window, the bottom left of the tailgate and the internal top frame of the rear nearside passenger door. I took it to a dealership for inspection, and they asked me for evidence of my annual perforation check. I gave them my service book, but I was informed that it was the wrong one, and that I should have been issued with a separate book for the perforation checks. Because I couldn’t provide this, my warranty claim was declined.
If I’d been provided with the right documents at the point of sale, and had been told about the checks, I would have had these carried out. Now the claim has been declined and it isn’t my fault. I’d therefore like the manufacturer to cover the cost of the repairs under the warranty.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We were unable to process the warranty claim, as there was no corrosion check booklet for the vehicle.
- The first two checks had been carried out by the previous owner, but the 60-month check was missing, so we declined the consumer’s request for the repair to be carried out under the warranty.
- Whilst we take on board the customer’s arguments about the information provided at the point of sale, there is no proof either way, and it is the consumer’s responsibility to ensure the checks are completed to keep the warranty agreement valid.
- We are therefore not prepared to offer any goodwill towards the cost of the repairs on this occasion.
The adjudication outcome:
- Based on the evidence provided, the adjudicator could find no breach of The Motor Ombudsman’s New Car Code, and felt that some of the consumer’s concerns should be directed to the dealership that sold the car, rather than to the vehicle manufacturer.
- This is because The Motor Ombudsman could not hold the manufacturer liable for what information had or had not been provided to the consumer at the point of sale.
- The adjudicator reviewed the information provided and could did not uphold the complaint in this instance.
- However, the consumer disagreed with the adjudicator’s findings and requested an ombudsman’s final decision.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman broadly agreed with the adjudicator’s conclusions.
- She explained that the manufacturer and dealership are two separate businesses, with two sets of obligations and responsibilities towards the consumer.
- The customer had not purchased the car directly from the manufacturer, so they had no control over the information that they were supplied with at the point of sale.
- As such, the consumer should direct this aspect of his complaint to the selling dealership, because if they had failed to properly advise the customer about the checks that were required to maintain the validity of the perforation warranty, they could have a valid complaint against the retailer.
- However, when it came to the manufacturer, they had assessed the consumer’s claim in line with their terms and conditions and had reached a fair decision, meaning they were entitled to decline it.
- The ombudsman therefore didn’t uphold the complaint in the consumer’s favour.
- Neither party responded to the ombudsman’s final decision and the case was closed.