Lawgistics review RAC Maintenance and Repair Plans

legal updates

How far above and beyond consumer rights do aftermarket warranties go?

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RAC Maintenance and Repair Plans come in three different levels: Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Plus, and are often used as an add-on when selling second-hand vehicles. The plans state they are designed to provide maintenance to parts that are not usually covered in standard periodic service schedules and are not expected to incur wear and tear in the normal use of the vehicle.

However, the plans are limited to vehicles up to a maximum of eight years old and/or have less than 80,000 miles (at the time of request for assistance) which may not cover all of the vehicles on your forecourt.

The plans provide an extensive list of parts covered and aside from the parts listed as “excluded parts”, all mechanical and electrical parts are included for failure to perform their normal function on the vehicle.

On the face of this statement, the Platinum Plus option seems to cover an array of parts and issues you may face when purchasing a second-hand car. However, the “excluded parts” section is quite extensive and it states: “all bodywork, handles and hinges, interior/exterior trim, brightwork, paint, glass (including front and rear heated screens and elements), weatherstrips, rubber seals, sheet metal, sun roof guides, seats (including all internal electrical/mechanical components), carpets, seat belts/pretensioners, wiper arms/blades/washer jets, wheels and tyres, wheel alignment/tracking/balancing adjustments” are excluded.

Much of the above could be considered as requiring a remedy under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. For example, if a consumer complained to a trader about washer jets not functioning or the sunroof not functioning as intended due to a fault with the sunroof guides, the trader may need to provide a remedy based on the vehicle not being of satisfactory quality or free from defects.

The Platinum Plus Plan also states that should the vehicle need to be dismantled to determine the source of the fault, the consumer would need to foot the initial bill until it is confirmed the part is covered under the plan. Should the part be included, the dismantling costs incurred would be reimbursed to the consumer. However, this is further restricted by costs only being reimbursed in line with Autodata recommendations.

When it comes to big jobs or any jobs under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the trader must complete the repairs within a reasonable amount of time and at no significant inconvenience to the consumer. This may include providing a courtesy vehicle or possibly reimbursing reasonable hire car costs if the situation calls for it.

Under the RAC Platinum Plus Plan, if the repair time exceeds eight hours and they cannot resolve the matter in any other way, consumers can claim for a replacement vehicle for up to seven days. This could avoid finding a hire car and paying upfront for those costs should traders exercise their first right to repair.

Overall, the Platinum Plus Plan does cover a lot of included parts that the common second-hand car purchaser may come across. However, the plan is restricted by the circumstances in which the issue occurs, the industry standard time repairs may take, and a limit on what they would pay per hour of labour incurred, which could put some consumers out of pocket.


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Kimberly StickleyTrainee SolicitorRead More by this author

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