Post-sale cabin defects

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a car from the dealership in January 2015, and in February 2016, I complained about the wear on my leather seats, but the business refused to repair the issue and said it was wear and tear. Eventually, they changed their minds and repaired the vehicle in May 2016. When they returned the car, I found numerous faults, which included a chemical smell in the cabin, crease marks and puckering on the passenger seat cover, flaking material on the passenger door seal, white marks across the interior, shiny marks on the driver’s seat, and damage to the rear offside alloy wheel. I also later identified that the interior was a greyish brown colour (instead of black), and that the door panels were removed and not refitted correctly.

In addition, foam was sticking out of the passenger seat belt holder, there was a bulge in the rubber seal, whilst part of the roof was not properly assembled. In August 2016, the business offered to replace the flaking door seal, the damaged alloy wheel and fully valet the car in full and final settlement of the dispute. However, I declined to settle the dispute, because I want the business to pay a third party to repair the car. Either the faults were present at the point of sale and/or the business caused them during the repair works.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We believe that we have already tried to settle the dispute.
  • We are not liable for anything further, and we consider the case to be closed.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The adjudicator did not find the matter to be settled. This is because the business failed to submit a signed “full and final” settlement agreement. As a result, The Motor Ombudsman pursued their investigation.
  • The adjudicator did not find that the business caused crease marks and puckering on the seat covers, the white marks across the interior and damage to the alloy wheel, because the evidence did not link these issues to the workmanship of the dealership or demonstrate that it was an inherent fault that was present at the point of sale.
  • In addition, The Motor Ombudsman did not find the dealership to be liable for the other issues, such as the door panel misalignment and the grey-brown interior discolouration. This is because a reasonable person would have identified these issues during inspection of the car at the point of sale. Replacing the worn seat covers would have also not required repairs or interference with the other components.
  • Therefore, the customer’s complaint was not upheld by the adjudicator.


  • The customer and accredited business did not appeal the decision, and the case was closed.