The consumer’s issue:
“I bought a new car in September 2016, and a few days later, a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light illuminated. That’s now happened on several occasions, and every time the dealership says the car is fixed, it happens again. I’ve also had problems with the parking brake and the engine using too much oil, plus there’s a creaking noise. They offered me £1,500 for the inconvenience caused, but I’m looking for a replacement vehicle or additional compensation.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We’ve never been able to diagnose a fault, despite the consumer showing us screenshots.
- £1,500 was offered in recognition of the consumer’s inconvenience, but this was declined.
- The consumer has had the car for over two years and driven many thousands of miles with no diagnosed defects, therefore indicating that their vehicle is of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.
- As such, the £1,500 offered was reasonable and we’re not prepared to offer anything more to the customer.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator didn’t uphold the customer’s complaint.
- This is because there was no evidence to show that the vehicle was faulty, and although there had been occasions where the dealership had noted a fault, they were now unable to find one.
- As a result, there was nothing to suggest that an award should be made, although the adjudicator did recommend further technical inspections to try to find the underlying cause.
- The consumer disagreed with the adjudication outcome and the case was referred to the ombudsman for a final decision.
The ombudsman’s final decision:
- The ombudsman didn’t agree with the adjudicator and upheld the customer’s complaint.
- In terms of the brake and oil issues, no faults had been diagnosed, so the ombudsman set these to one side.
- The issue with the TPMS was reported within the first six months, and there were two separate pieces of technical evidence referring to it as a fault, one in September 2017 and one in February 2018.
- The consumer also provided supporting information that the light illuminated again in May 2018, thereby showing that the attempted repair hadn’t worked.
- With all things considered, and taking into account that the vehicle was brand new at the point of sale and its price, the TPMS fault made the car of unsatisfactory quality.
- However, neither a replacement nor a refund made sense, because of the amount of miles covered, and the age of the vehicle at the time of making the decision.
- The ombudsman therefore believed a price reduction, in the form of compensation, was the fairest and most practical outcome in this instance.
- She noted that the vehicle had been off the road for about three months due to all of these problems, meaning the consumer had paid three months of finance repayments for a car they didn’t have, equating to an award of £1,000.
- As such, the original offer of £1,500 was fair and reasonable, and the ombudsman asked for a further £500 to be added, considering what had happened between the offer being made and the time of the decision.
- This resulted in the consumer being awarded £2,000 as the accredited business was found to be in breach of the Code of Practice for Vehicle Sales.
- Both parties accepted the final decision and the case was closed.