The consumer’s issue:
“I bought a brand new car in March 2018. A few weeks later, when driving on a bypass between two motorway junctions, I saw that my satellite navigation system was showing that I was passing through fields. The road I was driving on was built in 2016, so clearly my system wasn’t up to date. I bought a brand new car, which means that the satellite navigation system should also be current. I am therefore looking for the manufacturer to either update it or send me a new SD card for it when it’s released.”
The accredited business’ response:
- Satellite navigation system updates are done by a third party, so we have no control over their frequency, and a new update can sometimes take around four years to be introduced.
- The consumer already has the latest version of the software, and as a vehicle manufacturer, there’s unfortunately nothing further that we can do to help them in this instance.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator didn’t uphold the consumer’s complaint because there was no manufacturing defect with the car.
- The software was the most up-to-date version that could be provided when the consumer bought the car, and the vehicle manufacturer couldn’t control when it was updated, as this was the responsibility of a third party.
- As such, there was no repair to be done under the vehicle warranty.
- The consumer disagreed with this outcome, as they felt that what they were asking for was reasonable i.e. an updated SD card free of charge when it was released.
- The complaint was referred to the ombudsman for a final decision.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman agreed with the adjudication outcome.
- The only relationship between the consumer and the manufacturer is the warranty, and it is there to repair any manufacturing defects.
- There was nothing broken on the consumer’s vehicle, and at this point in time, no further software updates could be provided.
- The Motor Ombudsman also couldn’t look at the commercial relationship between the manufacturer and the third party, because ultimately, it’s the manufacturer’s choice as to who provides their services.
- The ombudsman explained that the consumer could complain to their selling dealership, as they supplied the vehicle to the consumer and are responsible for its overall quality.
- Against the manufacturer however, no award could be made to the customer.
- The accredited business was not found to be in breach of the Code of Practice for New Cars, and as such, the ombudsman didn’t make an award to the consumer.