The consumer’s issue:
“I purchased a brand-new 21-plate compact SUV in November 2021. Shortly after buying the car, I noticed the offside-rear wheel arch of the vehicle had indents showing in the metal, and it looked as if it had been knocked, whilst the paintwork was also scratched.
The manufacturer maintained that it was not a quality issue, and that it could not be classed as a manufacturing defect. However, this did not explain why similar models did not suffer from the same issues.
The manufacturer did not offer any remedy to the problem, but in my opinion, this is a quality issue. Therefore, I think that the defective part should be repaired under the new car warranty at no cost to myself.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We received notification regarding the finish on the offside rear wheel arch on the vehicle, whereby it was deemed to be sub-standard by the consumer.
- We have investigated the matter and can advise that the issue is not a result of a manufacturing defect, but is due to sealant on the hem.
- We advised that, as the sealant is applied by hand during the manufacturing process, the finish can vary from vehicle to vehicle.
- As a result, a decision was made not to cover repairs under the warranty.
- However, the customer was unhappy with this decision, as the mileage of the vehicle was very low, and the issue was identified relatively early on during the ownership of the car.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator informed the consumer that they had the burden of demonstrating that the cause of the defect was covered under the manufacturer’s new car warranty.
- It was not disputed that the vehicle suffered from a defect whilst it was in the warranty period.
- It was noted that the fault with the consumer’s compact SUV appeared to be a cosmetic issue where the finish on the offside rear wheel did not meet the customer’s satisfaction.
- The adjudicator reviewed photographic evidence from the consumer, which showed that the sealant on the hem and the finish were sub-standard.
- They also explained that, whilst the issue was cosmetic and, considering the fact that the finish on the other part of the vehicle was to the required standard, the wheel arch appeared to have been an outlier during the build through possible negligence.
- Therefore, it was concluded by the adjudicator that the business had breached the New Car Code, and the complaint was upheld in the consumer’s favour.
- In light of these findings, the consumer was entitled to a full vehicle inspection and for the offside-rear wheel arch to be finished to a required standard at no cost to them.
- The business agreed with the adjudication outcome, and the vehicle was booked in for an inspection immediately.
- Following this, the manufacturer agreed to carry out the repair, which the consumer was satisfied with, thereby bringing the case to a close.