White marks on paintwork

The consumer’s issue:

“I purchased a used ‘16 plate saloon car from a dealership in October 2018. Upon collecting the vehicle, I noticed some white marks on the rear bumper, so I asked the business to make a note of the them because I bought the car on finance and I did not want there to be any issues when I handed it back to the finance company.

A few months later, I noticed more white marks on the driver’s side door. I initially thought someone had scratched the car but, upon closer inspection, the marks appeared to be cracks in the paintwork. I had a couple of other issues with the passenger door and media unit, so I booked the vehicle in for an inspection at my local dealership.

The business advised me that there had been a repair to the door, which was of poor quality, and this had caused the paint to crack. I was told to raise this with the seller, so I got in touch with them, but they explained that, because I had owned the car for over 10 months, and they had not seen it since the day of purchase, there was nothing they could do about it. I have since had an independent inspection carried out, which confirmed that the entire car had been resprayed poorly, and it could cost me £6,000 to repair the problem.

To resolve this complaint, I would like a full refund for the vehicle or a price reduction to reflect what I will have to pay to get the paintwork rectified.”

The accredited business’ response:

  • The consumer bought a used car from us, and we advised them that the vehicle had been owned for 10 months at the time of their complaint, and that we were satisfied that there were no issues present at the point of sale.
  • The white marks the customer noticed on delivery were remnants of polish or wax, which was used to prepare the vehicle for handover to the customer.
  • We do not accept the level of work quoted by the consumer, as the issues would have been evident in the first few months of ownership, rather than 10 months later.
  • The customer also inspected the vehicle upon collection, and we do not accept this damage would have been missed.
  • Therefore, we do not accept liability for the claim made by the consumer, meaning that the burden of proving that the paint issue was present at the point of sale lies with them.

The adjudication outcome:

  • The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator reviewed the evidence and was unable to find that the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Sales had been breached.
  • Whilst she accepted the consumer’s independent report, which showed there were issues with the quality of the paintwork, there was no evidence to suggest that these were present when the consumer purchased the vehicle.
  • On its own, the document was not enough to demonstrate that poor quality repairs had been carried out prior to the consumer’s ownership of the vehicle, and it was likely that the consumer would have been able to notice the problem when they took delivery of the vehicle.
  • The adjudicator concluded that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that the issues with the paintwork existed at the point of sale, meaning that the vehicle must have been of satisfactory quality when the customer bought the car.
  • As a result, the complaint was not upheld by the adjudicator in the customer’s favour, and no further recommendations were made.


  • Neither party responded to the adjudication outcome, and the case was closed.