Lawgsitics review Autoguard Warranties

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

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We are on our third big hitter in the warranty industry: Autoguard. When browsing their website, they use Best 4 Warranty which is a trading name of Autoguard Warranties Ltd. They have three levels of cover: AutoBronze, AutoSilver, and AutoGold. For our review, we will be looking at the highest level of cover: AutoGold.

AutoGold is described as “the ultimate used car extended warranty package” and includes cover for in-car entertainment, sat nav, climate, and driver interface systems. Like most warranty terms and conditions, the policy lists a lot of components that are covered for the sudden and unexpected failure of mechanical and electrical components. The key takeaway here is that the components are only covered as a result of a mechanical breakdown.

The policy’s definition of a mechanical breakdown is: “The sudden internal mechanical breakdown or failure of a component which results in the sudden stoppage of its normal function and which necessitates repair or replacement to resume those functions but not arising as a consequence of any external cause.”

From this definition, the warranty seemingly does not cover issues such as oil and water leaks which are not considered as sudden internal mechanical failures. Looking at their terms, Autoguard doubles down on this point and states that external fluid leaks, odours, external oil leaks, and seals are not covered under the warranty.

In contrast, if a consumer has purchased a vehicle that has had an oil leak or water leak and this is proven to have been present at the time of sale, the trader would likely need to provide a remedy to stop the vehicle from leaking.

Best4Warranty also confirms that “any bodywork and trim, any seat belts, airbags (or disposal of airbags), any glass including heated screens and door mirrors, sunroof panels, fuel tanks, wheels, and tyres are all excluded.” A consumer would not have any recourse for bodywork and trim as these would not be considered faults. However, the other components, if failed or defective, may provide the consumer with a remedy under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015).

We will now change gears slightly and look at what is not covered under the warranty, which is in line with the limitations of the CRA 2015. Firstly, the policy does not cover “any mechanical breakdown to the vehicle caused by or arising from any external cause”, nor does it cover a gradual reduction in operating performance commensurate with the age and mileage covered by the vehicle. If a consumer gets into an accident, it is clear that traders cannot be held for the damage as a result of such, and in general, wear and tear items are not covered by the CRA 2015. However, traders must be aware that the vehicle must be “durable” and if a clutch only lasts 10 miles post-purchase, it is likely that a remedy is due.

The AutoGold warranty does have a section titled Roadside Assistance & Breakdown that details the agreement between Best4Warranty and Call Assist Limited (CAL).

In Section D (misfuelling), it is stated: “If your vehicle is subject to misfuelling in a retail petrol station in the UK, CAL will pay up to a maximum of £250 for the draining and flushing of the fuel tank using a specialist roadside vehicle or recovery of your vehicle, its driver and up to six passengers to the nearest repairer to drain and flush the fuel tank. CAL will also pay for up to 10 litres of the correct fuel.”

Under the CRA 2015, if a consumer misfuels their vehicle, the trader cannot be held liable for the actions of the consumer, and if this section applies to your consumer’s situation, this would go above and beyond the CRA 2015. However, this is limited to two misfuelling callouts during the policy cover, so consumers should check they are putting the right fuel in their car so they are not left stranded and out of pocket.

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As a whole, Autoguard warranties exclude quite a few components that may be covered by the CRA 2015, should the evidence suggest a remedy is due. However, they do have policies that are in line with what traders may be liable for, and their CAL Breakdown Assist seemingly covers aspects that would normally be rejected by traders.

Kimberly StickleyTrainee SolicitorRead More by this author

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With newer vehicles, depending on the warranty period provided, the manufacturer may instruct the trader to undertake certain tests and to certain standards so they are able to entertain a warranty claim.

Warranty or Statutory Rights

We all regularly hear comments that a warranty covers consumer rights and there is a cut off of those rights once the warranty expires.

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