Powder coating on wheels

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a new saloon car from a dealership in March 2015. Around a month ago (in March 2019), and after only four years of owning the vehicle, I noticed a powder coating substance coming off the wheels, leaving a flaky-like substance. I have researched the issue online and found that many other people have experienced the same problems, and it appears to be a manufacturing defect. I contacted my local dealership and they stated that, as I had not had my car serviced by them and had shown no loyalty to the business, they would not consider fixing the issue.


However, I disagree with this, as my commitment to the brand was made at the time of purchase, and even with my car still being under warranty, my level of loyalty should not detract from the fact that the dealership should be fixing the problem. I am therefore looking for the business to resolve the issue at no cost to myself.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • As the customer stated that the issue only occurred in March 2019, more than three years after the vehicle was purchased, it is fair to suggest that the issue was not present at the point of sale.
  • It is difficult to explain why the problem happened, but it could have been caused by stone chips or general road use (lacquer generally lifts when water gets underneath the surface), or the use of strong chemicals when cleaning the alloys.
  • If the problem was the result of a manufacturing defect, it would have become apparent much sooner. Three years is a long time for a manufacturing defect to materialise and this vehicle was actually four years old when the complaint was made.
  • In order to bring this matter to a close, we are willing to cover 50% of the cost of repair, as this is a cosmetic concern rather than a mechanical defect.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The adjudicator reviewed the evidence provided by both parties, and found that there was no breach of the Motor Ombudsman’s Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Sales.
  • This is because there was no evidence to suggest that there was an inherent fault at the point of sale, and the adjudicator invited the consumer to provide a technical report that could demonstrate that this.
  • The adjudicator also deemed the offer made by the dealership to cover 50% of the repair costs, was a fair way to resolve the consumer’s dispute.


  • The customer accepted the outcome delivered by the adjudicator.
  • Due to financial constraints, the customer was unable to conduct the repair at the time the offer was made. Though the business had stated that the consumer had three months to accept the offer, the adjudicator encouraged the consumer to liaise with the business and come to an arrangement.
  • No issues arose after this, and the case was closed.