Rusting tailgate

The consumer’s issue:

“My car’s tailgate was repaired under the anti-perforation warranty in March 2017. A few months later, in January 2018, the rust came back. I noticed that the repair had gone a dark blue colour and filler was coming through. I got in touch with the accredited business who refused to cover the further repair. I would therefore like the tailgate to be replaced.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • The tailgate was repaired and resprayed by a bodyshop.
  • The bodyshop was of the opinion that the initial repair should have included the replacement of the tailgate, but the warranty department only authorised a repair, as this is usual practice.
  • The dealership thinks the issue is due to jet washing the paint, and therefore, this is not considered to be a manufacturing defect.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator didn’t uphold the customer’s complaint.
  • She felt that there was insufficient evidence to determine the cause of the new problem with the tailgate, and that the accredited business was entitled to choose a repair over a replacement tailgate.
  • As such, she didn’t feel that she could make an award to the consumer.
  • The customer was unhappy with this outcome and asked for her decision to be reviewed by the ombudsman.

The ombudsman’s final decision:

  • The ombudsman upheld the customer’s complaint.
  • It was more likely that the tailgate was rusting due to the original perforation repaired in March 2017 than for an external reason like jet washing. Jet washing could explain the paint flaking, but it was unlikely to have caused the rust underneath.
  • In addition, the bodyshop who repaired the car were of the opinion that the panel should have been replaced which indicated that they thought that the rust could come back through.
  • It was reasonable to carry out the repair in the first instance, but as it was most likely that the repair had now failed, the panel should be replaced.


  • The ombudsman upheld that there was a breach of the Motor Industry Code of Practice for New Cars and awarded the consumer a replacement tailgate under the anti-perforation warranty.