Chris Cobley was enjoying his Vauxhall Astra – until it turned two and a half years old and he noticed the nearside front foglight was faulty. He popped into his local dealer, knowing the car was still under warranty and fully expecting a quick fix.
The Vauxhall dealer, Northern Motors in Harrow, didn’t agree. An initial check confirmed a faulty light unit, but a repair wouldn’t be easy. The clip attaching the unit had broken, and a whole new bumper was required. Still, Chris assumed the car’s warranty would cover this.
He thought wrong. Northern Motors said the only way the clip could have broken was in a crash, in which case the warranty was invalid. Chris protested – the Astra hadn’t been in any kind of accident – but the dealer was adamant there was no manufacturing fault, and therefore no warranty claim.
Chris turned to Helpdesk. Not only was he being accused of an accident he claimed he’d never had, but Vauxhall had just honoured a far more costly claim for his car’s xenon headlights.
‘I just don’t understand why my headlight claim has been quickly and efficiently dealt with, while another, smaller job has been rejected,’ he said.
Helpdesk contacted Vauxhall, which was quick to investigate. The manufacturer’s technical department and senior management reviewed the case, but maintained the fault could only be the result of crash damage.
Chris continued to protest that the car had never had an accident; there were no marks on the bumper, or any signs of an impact. It was stalemate, so we advised him to take his car to another Vauxhall dealership, something he’d not done before because all his local ones were in the same franchise.
Going farther afield turned out to be a smart move. London-based Now Vauxhall took one look at the Astra, diagnosed a faulty clip, which could be replaced independently of the bumper, and carried out the work under warranty in no time at all.
What if this happens to you?
- If you feel you aren't being fairly treated, seek the opinion of a different franchise. It could save you more than the cost of getting there.
- Read the terms and conditions of your warranty, and make time to understand them.
- Research your car's common faults at whatcar.com to learn about problems and recalls affecting your model.
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