The consumer’s issue:
“My car had a repair following a recall for the wipers, and since then, they have now stopped working, or if they do work, they will be slow and sluggish. The wiper on the driver’s side has been moved so that it now stops in my line of sight. Forums and videos online indicate that I am not the only person to suffer with these issues following the rectification work. However, the vehicle manufacturer has said that there have been no known issues with the wipers, and that it is down wear and tear, rather than being due to the workmanship of the dealership. The time frame between the fault and recall was less than three weeks, but due to the summer months and no rain, the wipers were inactive for most of that period. I paid to have the wiper spindle mechanism fixed, and am therefore looking for this cost to be reimbursed.”
The accredited business’ response:
- We do not accept that the consumer is entitled to financial damages and / or a refund of the cost of repair under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, or any other term or law.
- This is on the basis that the recall work was carried out at no cost to the customer, and with all reasonable care and skill, and in accordance with general practice and manufacturer recommendations.
- The vehicle manufacturer confirmed that the seizure of the wiper spindle mechanism was unrelated to the issue, and could not have been caused by the wiper replacement one month earlier.
- The manufacturer of a part is unable to put a specified lifetime on any vehicle component. All mechanical components have a potential to fail, and this is largely unpredictable due to the wide variation of external influences (including water ingress) and usage to which the vehicle is subjected.
- The failure of the wiper spindle mechanism was due to long-term wear and tear, and exposure to water. This could not have occurred in the one-month period following the wiper linkage replacement, and could not have been as a result of the work that was carried out.
- The dealership did not carry out the recall inspection on behalf of the customer, and therefore has no contractual arrangement with him. In fact, the work was carried out on behalf of and invoiced to the vehicle manufacturer.
- No evidence has been supplied by the customer to show that the recall was carried out with anything other than reasonable care and skill, in a manner that would have been carried out by any other comparable dealership.
The adjudication outcome:
- The adjudicator found the dealership hadn’t failed in their legal obligation to conduct repairs with reasonable care and skill.
- The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator noted that, in the event that the services fell below the required standard, and there was a contract with the customer, the remedies available to the consumer were for the dealership to repeat the service, or for a reduction in the cost of the repair.
- However, the recall repair was carried out at no cost to the customer, hence there is no possibility of a reduction in price in this scenario.
- The wiper linkage that was replaced as part of the recall was operating correctly.
- The consumer had already been offered an amount of goodwill by way of the dealership discounting the cost of the work to replace the seized wiper spindle mechanism.
- The adjudicator understood there are forums with a community of people with similar issues online, but to rely on information that is uncertified or unproven, is unreasonable.
- There are so many external factors to account for when involving the mechanics of vehicles. Unless a professional technical opinion was provided linking the work of the dealership to the current wiper, The Motor Ombudsman was unable to uphold the customer’s complaint.
- The customer and accredited business accepted the outcome as recommended by The Motor Ombudsman adjudicator, and the case was closed.