Paint defect rejection

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a car in March 2015. I had two previous vehicles, one of which was rejected by myself, and the other rejected by the dealership, due to issues with the paint. The most recent vehicle is now experiencing the same defect. I would therefore like the dealership to buy back the car at a good price, not trade price, as it has only done 5,000 miles and is otherwise in perfect condition.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • Two days after taking delivery of his car, he wanted to reject the vehicle due to the paint finish. We accepted this, and a replacement car was ordered, which we then rejected due to paint blemishes.
  • We managed to source another vehicle within the network, which had an accessories pack worth £2,000, and this was supplied at no additional cost. The consumer, as well as the manufacturer and a local bodyshop, inspected this vehicle and accepted its condition in March 2016.
  • In April 2017, we were informed by another dealership in our group that the consumer wanted to reject the vehicle due to paint defects.
  • We don’t think that there is anything further we need to do as the consumer inspected the vehicle before the purchase and duly accepted it.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The adjudicator looking at the complaint did not uphold it in favour of the customer. That is because she felt the consumer should have been able to notice the issue at the point of sale, as both previous vehicles had the issue picked up almost immediately after delivery. Therefore, there was no longer a right to complain about it in accordance with the law.
  • The consumer was unhappy with this and sought some technical opinions to show the issue was present at the point of sale, and the complaint went to a final ombudsman decision.

The ombudsman’s final decision:

  • The two opinions which were sought by the consumer gave differing reasons for the current paint problem, but what both confirmed was that if those opinions were correct, the defect would most likely have been visible on a reasonable inspection of the vehicle at the point of sale.
  • Considering the consumer and the dealership had rejected previous vehicles, and multiple parties had inspected the vehicle before it was handed over, the issue would have been noticed. As such, either the consumer accepted the vehicle with the issue, or the issue was not present at the point of sale, meaning his rights would not apply.
  • The consumer was advised of his rights under the manufacturer’s warranty, but no award was made against the dealership.


  • The ombudsman did not uphold the complaint of the customer in their final decision.