Surely if your car’s under warranty you shouldn’t have to pay for any repairs? You’d think so, but this isn’t always the case – dealers are increasingly relying on the small print to wriggle out of warranty claims.
While researching the Which? Car feature on new car warranties, I was contacted by a Kia Cee’d owner whose warranty claim had been turned down by his local dealer – he thought unfairly.
After 9,000 miles and at just under a year old, the car’s clutch burnt out. When the owner took it to the dealer he was told he’d have to pay for a replacement as it would be considered fair wear and tear.
We agreed with the owner that a clutch should be expected to last for longer than a year, so contacted Kia on his behalf. Its head office inspected the car, and subsequently fitted a new gearbox and refunded the money paid for the replacement clutch.
Stop hiding behind the small print
This is just one of many examples we hear of people who’ve had to pay for repairs that should have been done under warranty. While Kia behaved well in the end, I believe the dealer shouldn’t have tried to get out of the warranty claim in the first place.
And there are other ways dealers can wriggle out of accepting warranty claims, thanks to the small print in their warranty terms and conditions.
Vauxhall, for example, insists owners take their cars for an annual inspection (within a two-week window) in order to maintain the lifetime warranty. And two thirds of the manufacturers we looked at will only pay out for rust if the car has been inspected at regular intervals.
While there’s no problem with carmakers stipulating that vehicles should be regularly checked, surely they should be up-front and make sure owners don’t find this out too late?
In general, I believe that if a car has a manufacturing fault, car companies and their dealers should simply own up and pay for it to be fixed, rather than hiding behind the small print.