Vibration from faulty driveshaft

The consumer’s issue:

“I noticed severe vibration coming from the passenger’s side of the car, so I took it to the business for an inspection. They completed a vehicle health check (VHC), and replaced the driveshaft on the passenger side of the car. At first, the vibration seemed a bit better, but following a long drive to Spain, it became worse and could be felt as much as before. I had the car looked into in Spain, and they found the engine top mount and passenger’s side driveshaft needed replacing. I’d therefore like the business to refund the money they charged me for these repairs.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • We completed a vehicle health check and sent a video of this to the consumer. The correct part was replaced at the time.
  • The top mount was not considered to be faulty when we completed our repairs. Therefore, it wasn’t looked at or replaced.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The adjudicator looked into the customer’s complaint, but didn’t uphold it. He said the information on file showed that the business had identified the nearside driveshaft to be faulty, and this was subsequently replaced.
  • The consumer was unhappy with the outcome, and asked for an ombudsman to review the complaint.

The ombudsman’s final decision:

  • As the consumer lived abroad, the ombudsman noted the car was a left hand drive.
  • There was also some confusion concerning the difference between the ‘nearside’ and ‘offside’ of the car, and that these terms had been used interchangeably by both the consumer and the business.
  • The ombudsman explained that, in the UK, the ‘nearside’ of the car defined the passenger side of the car i.e. the side closest to the kerb. But, as the car was a left hand drive vehicle, this would be the driver’s side.
  • The ombudsman identified that both the VHC checklist and business video referred to the driveshaft in the ‘nearside’ of the car while looking at the driver’s side.
  • However, within the invoice, she noted the business had said they’d replaced the driver’s side driveshaft and referred to this as the ‘offside’ of the car.
  • The ombudsman said that the business should have been a bit clearer with the consumer to avoid this confusion.
  • She also stated that, despite the confusion, the evidence available showed that there was play on the driver’s side driveshaft and this was replaced. There was no evidence to show that this wasn’t in need of replacing, and by the consumer’s own admission, the vibration had gotten better following the repair.
  • The ombudsman went on to say that, due to the age and mileage of the car, it wasn’t unreasonable that a further repair was required to fully resolve the vibration.
  • However, she noted that the consumer had not been charged a diagnostic fee by the business, and that he had only paid for the repair.
  • Therefore, the ombudsman didn’t think it was fair for the business to refund the cost of the driveshaft replacement when there was evidence that it was faulty.