Repeated rust bubbles

The consumer’s issue:

“I purchased a 66-plate SUV in May 2020, and six months later, I found evidence of rust bubbles on all four doors of my vehicle. Upon inspection by the approved garage, the manufacturer agreed for all four doors to be replaced under the perforation warranty at their cost (a total of £4,800).

However, in October 2021, when the car was still under warranty, the rust bubbles re-appeared on the bottom of the inside of the nearside rear door. The same issue was evident along the nearside front and offside rear door and, as a result, all three doors, which were only nine months old at the time, had to be replaced again, but on this occasion, the business was only prepared to cover 50% of the cost.

As a resolution to my complaint, I am requesting that the business covers the full cost of replacement of all three doors under my warranty agreement.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • As a gesture of goodwill, we have offered a contribution towards the repair, leaving the customer to cover 50% of the overall cost.
  • We believe that this is fair and reasonable considering the fact that, at the time, the vehicle had not any anti-perforation checks carried out.
  • We kindly request that The Motor Ombudsman informs the consumer that the offer is still valid, and we await their decision regarding our proposed contribution.

The adjudication outcome:

  • Under The Motor Ombudsman’s Code of Practice for New Cars, the adjudicator informed the customer that they had the burden of demonstrating that the cause of the defect was covered under the warranty.
  • As the initial replacement of the doors was undertaken by the manufacturer under its anti-perforation warranty, it was correct to assume that the initial fault was indeed a result of a manufacturing defect.
  • The adjudicator also noted that an identical issue subsequently occurred, showing that, on the balance of probability, either the replaced doors had an inherent fault causing repetitive issues with perforation, or that the part supplied to the dealer was not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.
  • Furthermore, as the fault appeared within less than a year of the replacement of the doors whilst the vehicle was still under warranty, the adjudicator concluded that they should be repaired free of charge.
  • Therefore, it was found that the business had breached the New Car Code, and the complaint was upheld in the consumer’s favour. The business was therefore directed to bear the cost of replacement of the defective doors.


  • Both the business and the consumer accepted the adjudication outcome.
  • The business covered the cost, as directed, and the case was closed.