Software update warranty claim

The consumer’s issue:

“When I purchased my used saloon in February 2020, I also opted to buy an extended warranty to provide protection if any faults occurred. In August 2020, the satellite navigation and multimedia system started to malfunction, with several fault codes also appearing on the dashboard. I took the car for a diagnostic test, and I was told it needed a software update. However, the business would not cover the cost of this under warranty because they said that a software update was not an “electrical part”. I disagree with this because, although a software update was the required repair, it was the satellite navigation and multimedia system that was not operating as intended, and that is most certainly an electrical part.  

In my opinion, the software update should have been covered under the warranty, and I would like the business to reimburse me for the sum of £150, which is what I personally paid for the software update to be carried out.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We considered the consumer’s claim, and explained that software updates are not covered under the extended warranty.
  • This is because the policy only covers the sudden failure of mechanical and electrical parts, and due to this being a software update, the claim has been rightly declined.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator agreed that the software update was not covered under the specific terms and conditions of the warranty and that the vehicle had not experienced any kind of mechanical or electrical failure.
  • As a result, the business was entitled to decline the claim, and did not have an obligation to cover the repair costs.
  • Therefore, the adjudicator did not uphold the consumer’s complaint.
  • The customer disagreed with the adjudicator’s assessment and requested an ombudsman’s final decision.

The ombudsman’s final decision:

  • The ombudsman reviewed the evidence and found that the business had acted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the warranty.
  • She said that they made it clear that cover was only provided in the event of a mechanical or electrical breakdown which caused a ‘part’ to suddenly stop working.
  • She said the satellite navigation and multimedia system was not performing as expected, but the part itself had not broken down. In this case, a software update was required to bring it up to date.
  • The ombudsman went on to explain that software updates were occasionally released by manufacturers to keep up to date with changes in technology and ensure features, such as the satellite navigation and multimedia system, are up to date.
  • While this is not part of the regular servicing and maintenance of the car, it remains the owner’s responsibility to ensure that any software updates are implemented so they can make full use of these features.
  • She also acknowledged that the loss of full use of these features would have caused loss of enjoyment and an inconvenience, but there was no evidence that this impacted the operation and safety of the car.
  • The ombudsman also highlighted that the terms of the warranty clearly state that the warranty would not apply to any parts not listed within the terms.
  • Therefore, as software updates were not listed, the claim was fairly declined.
  • Whilst the ombudsman thought the business was entitled to refuse to pay out on the claim, she made a recommendation to the business to improve the clarity of their terms, and to specifically mention software updates as being excluded, due to the increasing use of software in vehicles.
  • The complaint was once again not upheld in the consumer’s favour, as the business had made the right decision in accordance with the terms of the warranty.


  • The consumer did not respond to the ombudsman’s final decision, and the case was closed.