Stiff air conditioning dial

The consumer’s issue:

“I bought a brand new ’19-registration small city SUV in March 2019, and around a month later, after driving 1,000 miles, I took the car back to the seller due to the air conditioning dial being very stiff to use. To replace the heating controls, they had to remove the dashboard, and during the work, they also damaged the paintwork on my car. The repair was not done properly, and similarly, the dealership failed to fix the problem with the air conditioning. After several other visits to rectify some minor faults, I explained to the seller that this car was not fit for purpose, and asked the business to take the vehicle back and to refund my deposit of £2,500, but they refused and only offered a £60 goodwill gesture. I am also looking for compensation to the value of £600 for loss of earnings, as I have had to take time off work to take the car to the business and to pick it back up again.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • Our investigation of the consumer’s issue revealed that the heater direction flap in the heater distribution box was jamming.
  • As the heater distribution box was not a stock item, and we would need to order the part, it was necessary for us to re-book the car to come in again a couple of weeks later.
  • When the car came back to us in mid-May 2019, the component was replaced free of charge under the manufacturer’s warranty, and the consumer was also kept mobile in a courtesy car (also at no cost to them).
  • On collection, the customer did mention that the air conditioning was not working, and this was due to one of the cables coming away from the retaining clips. This was simply down to human error, and was not the result of the car not being checked before the consumer came to collect it.
  • Whilst the vehicle was in our care, it did sustain a small dent to the bodywork when it our car park, but we did keep the customer mobile whilst we repaired the car.
  • The vehicle came back to us at the beginning of July 2019 because of a rattle noise coming from the steering column, and the consumer also wanted us to have a look at the paintwork. On this occasion, the customer did not use one of our courtesy cars whilst their vehicle was with us, and repairs to the steering column and the bodywork were made at no cost to them.
  • The final visit was for a replacement of a boot lock, which was once again carried out free of charge for the customer, and was done whilst they waited at our dealership to minimise any inconvenience.
  • As you can see from the above, there have only been three issues with this car, and none have caused a situation where the vehicle is no longer driveable.
  • In addition, we have supplied a courtesy car or carried out the repair whilst the customer waited, so we are unsure as to why there is a £600 claim for loss of earnings.
  • In addition, all of the issues were rectified under the manufacturer’s warranty, and at no cost to the consumer.
  • In summary, we do not feel that the vehicle should be considered for rejection based on the faults the customer experienced during their first 11 months of ownership.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator reviewed the evidence submitted by both parties, and found that there were several faults with the car that had been supplied to the consumer in March 2019, meaning that there had been a breach of the Vehicle Sales Code.
  • It was noted that the repairs of the different components had been completed under warranty at no cost to the consumer, and had successfully rectified the faults that were present at the point of sale.
  • Therefore, the adjudicator was unable to recommend that the dealership allowed the rejection of the vehicle after the business had already provided the required resolutions to the consumer at no cost to them. Therefore, this request could not be upheld in the customer’s favour.
  • Similarly, it was concluded that the consumer had not sustained any financial losses, as they were kept mobile during repairs. However, the customer was advised that the adjudicator would review any further evidence which demonstrated that losses had been suffered, in order to reconsider their outcome.


  • The consumer and business agreed with the adjudication outcome and the case was closed.