Financial Ombudsman Service uphold complaint for quality of vehicle over one year after sale

A case recently reported by the Financial Ombudsman Service shows how traditional court cases may be increasingly bypassed using the Financial Ombudsman Service ombudsman route.  A consumer purchased a car on finance. 

The car drove satisfactorily for a year but just after, the engine failed.  The diagnosis by a mechanic was that the car hadn’t been serviced properly for a number of years before sale with metal build up in the oil.  The consumer complained to the finance company who maintained that because the car had operated satisfactorily for over a year there was no case to answer.  The Financial Ombudsman Service upheld the consumer’s complaint and directed the finance company to pay for the engine repair.

This presents a very different route which dealers will need to increasingly get to grips with.  The Financial Ombudsman Service is a free service.  The Financial Ombudsman Service have relied on evidence of a mechanic who may not be sufficiently impartial or qualified.  The finance companies are keen to ‘obey’ the Financial Ombudsman Service and therefore there will be pressure from finance companies to get the dealer to pay such a claim.

What was an important aspect of this case was that the seller had not produced any documentation for a PDI or service when the car was sold.  Any evidence as to quality you can gain at the point of sale is vital in cases such as this.  Always seriously consider having an MOT carried out as well to counter any safety related issues after sale.

Published: 23 Jul 2013

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