A rusting car

The consumer’s issue:

“I have had the car assessed by the dealership under the anti-corrosion warranty because of the occurrence of rust. When asked for the documentation between the dealership and the vehicle manufacturer, and how the dealership came to decision of a 50% contribution towards the cost of repairs for the rust, the dealership told me that it was confidential and could not provide me with anything on official documentation. When escalated, the manufacturer told me that they could not go against the dealership’s decision, and informed me that it was a paint defect. The car is only 8 years old and should not be rusting. I believe that this is a manufacturer’s issue – it can be seen online through various channels that these are common issues. I had asked the manufacturer that if I were to accept a 50% contribution to the cost of the repair, that I could use someone in my home town who is VAT registered and is approved to carry out work on behalf of insurance companies. This would also negate any future warranty for the anti-corrosion aspect, and the journey to and from the dealership is around 4 hours from my address, which adds considerable time, and money to myself. This was flatly rejected by the manufacturer, and I was told the car would need to be taken to the dealership.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • Rust on the surface is more frequent than through corrosion, and is caused when exposed metals (iron and steel) oxidise and deteriorate. For the surface of a body panel to rust, the metal must be exposed, which may be down to damage to the paint through an external influence or a possible paint defect. Paint defects are only covered for 3 years under the paint warranty.
  • Through corrosion originates from inside the steel panel with no external factors present, and as such, it is classed as a defect and is covered by the 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.
  • The business concluded there was no through corrosion on the consumer’s vehicle and therefore would not be covered under the 12-year anti-corrosion warranty, and the 3-year paint warranty had also expired.

The adjudication outcome:

The consumer’s complaint was not upheld by the adjudicator, as there was no evidence or information provided to demonstrate that the rust was the result of through corrosion.


  • The offer of a 50% contribution from the dealership was recommended as a fair outcome to this complaint in the absence of further information. The consumer did not ask for a final decision within the time frame specified.