The consumer’s issue:
“In September 2019, I bought a 36-month extended warranty agreement for my 63-plate SUV, as I wanted protection for it in case anything went wrong. At the time of taking out the policy, the car’s mileage was just over 50,000.
In February 2021, I noticed while driving, that an abnormal noise was coming from the vehicle and my car had completed 70,000 miles at this point. Having the extended warranty, I booked the SUV in for repairs. Once these had been completed at my own expense, I contacted the warranty administrators to be reimbursed for the cost of the work. However, I was informed that the claim would be declined, because I had failed to get agreement from them prior to the repairs taking place.
I challenged the decision, but was informed that, because of the policy’s terms and conditions, repair work could not commence without authorisation from the administrator. No resolution was offered, except to direct the complaint to The Motor Ombudsman.
This is deeply upsetting, and as a resolution to my complaint, I am looking for the business to provide full cover for the cost of the repairs.”
The accredited business’ response:
- The consumer purchased a mechanical breakdown agreement, which included details of the claims procedure that required them to obtain prior authorisation from us before consenting to any work being done on the vehicle.
- After being contacted by the customer, we were informed that the repair work had already been completed and that the consumer wanted to be paid back for the repair costs.
- We explained the claims process to the consumer, and that the warranty stipulates that work on the vehicle cannot be done without prior approval from us.
- We further advised the customer that this would be grounds for a claim to be rejected.
- The consumer’s vehicle had also travelled 70,000 miles at the time of the claim, and in our experience, the failure of the suspension bush would be a result of wear and tear at this mileage and would therefore be seen as normal deterioration of this part.
- Since no authorisation was provided, and we were not afforded an opportunity to inspect the faulty components, we declined the claim.
The adjudication outcome:
- After looking at the terms and conditions of claiming under the policy, the adjudicator confirmed that the claims process and policy coverage depended on the authorisation of the repairs by the warranty administrators.
- The adjudicator noted that, by the consumer’s own admission, they had confirmed that repair work was done before obtaining authorisation from the warranty administrators, and did not follow the outlined claims procedure.
- Therefore, there was no breach of The Motor Ombudsman’s Vehicle Warranty Products Code by the business, which meant that the case could not be upheld in the consumer’s favour.
- The consumer did respond within the 10-working day period required and, as a result, the case was closed.