The consumer’s issue:
“My car went into the garage because of an oil leak, and oil cooler was found to have split. I spoke to my warranty company to report the failure, and they said corrosion was not covered in the policy. The invoice stated that the cooler was split, not corroded and seized, which is common when steel is connected to aluminium over time. Therefore, I feel the warranty company should honour their liability and cover the cost of the repair.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We advised the customer that oil coolers can fail internally for reasons other than corrosion, and in those circumstances, we would consider the validity of a claim.
- We can confirm that we have authorised claims for oil cooler failures that were not caused by corrosion.
- The consumer’s warranty agreement is a dealer-backed guarantee, and the contract is between them and the selling dealer. We serve as the administrator for the purpose of claims handling only.
- As we have acted correctly and in accordance with the terms of the consumer’s warranty, we are unable to uphold the complaint and our original decision to decline the claim still stands.
The adjudication outcome:
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator reviewed the terms of the policy and found that, whilst the oil cooler is a covered part within the agreement, corrosion as a cause of failure is not covered under the policy.
- As both parties had a different understanding of the cause of the failure, the adjudicator requested the call recordings from the discussion between the repairer and the warranty administrator.
- This showed that the repairer had clearly noted that the cooler was corroded, and that the corrosion had been developing for some time, thereby causing the leak which led to the split and the subsequent failure of the component.
- The claim by the warranty provider was determined to have been fairly declined, but it was noted that the consumer had not been previously supplied with this information.
- The case was not upheld in the consumer’s favour by The Motor Ombudsman, as the business had not broken the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products, but were advised that, had they provided the call recording prior to the Ombudsman’s involvement, it is likely the case would not have progressed this far.
- Both parties accepted the outcome of The Motor Ombudsman, and the case was closed.