Discoloured wheel trims

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a vehicle in November 2016. The plastic trim surrounding the wheel arches has now become discoloured with white marks, and when I approached the dealership, they told me this was probably due to the product I’ve used to clean them and that the warranty won’t cover this. I went back to where I bought the product who said to contact the vehicle manufacturer, and they told me the product isn’t corrosive and was specifically designed to clean the trims. They thought the trims have had UV damage and been rectified at some point before my ownership. I would like the vehicle’s warranty to cover the cost of replacing the trims.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • In our opinion, the cause of failure is due to an external influence which is not covered under the warranty.
  • We’ve made a goodwill gesture, which reduces the bill from £2,927.34 to £2,341, but we are unable to offer anything further.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The adjudicator looking at the customer’s complaint didn’t uphold it. He felt that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to show that the trims had failed as a result of a manufacturing defect, and therefore the warranty provider should not have to pay out. The consumer was unhappy with this, and sought a technical inspection.
  • The technical inspection proceeded to show that the product the consumer had used to clean the trims was not the issue. In fact, the product temporarily restored the trims to their usual appearance before the white marks re-appeared.
  • Additionally, the consumer had used the product on all of the plastic trims, but only the wheel arches were affected, suggesting it was not the product at fault.
  • The independent report didn’t categorically state the cause of the failure, but, if external influence could be ruled out, and wear and tear was not applicable, that only left a manufacturing defect.

The ombudsman’s final decision:

  • As such, the ombudsman recommended that the manufacturer pay for the repairs in full and reimburse the cost of the independent report.


  • The customer’s complaint was therefore upheld and the manufacturer paid for the full cost of the repairs and independent report in-line with the ombudsman’s recommendation.