Mazda MX-5 rust problem

* Rust appears at indicators at just 11,900 miles * Mazda initially refuses claim under 12-year warranty * Manufacturer and dealer agree to foot £500 repair bill...

Mazda MX-5 rust problem

As soon as Richard Carling noticed rust developing on his Mazda MX-5 he rushed it to his local dealership, SG Petch, in Darlington.

The Copper Red MX-5 was bought new in 2008 and had been well looked after, so Richard was shocked to find rust around the indicator repeater on the driver’s side after just 11,900 miles. To make matters worse, the paintwork around the repeater on the passenger side soon started to blister, too.

SG Petch took photos of the rust, which were then sent to Mazda UK customer services. Bodywork inspection records were also requested by Mazda. However, the arrival of the requested documents was delayed, so Richard sent the company his own copy of the car’s service records, including a bodywork inspection carried out in September 2012 – just seven months before the rust was noticed. The report clearly showed there were no problems with the bodywork at that time.

Mazda UK refused the claim, which was made under the manufacturer’s 12-year anti-perforation warranty. It argued that the repeaters had been replaced before Mr Carling bought the car new, and therefore the warranty was no longer valid.

However, as a gesture of goodwill, Mazda offered to pay 25% of the £500 repair cost. Richard rejected the offer on the grounds that the car is in otherwise fantastic condition and has always been serviced by a Mazda dealership.

Richard was about to get in touch with Mazda in Japan to see if he could get a resolution from the top, but before he did, he contacted Helpdesk. We informed him of his legal rights and he went back to SG Petch and appealed to the service manager, who tracked down Mazda’s local area manager, who then negotiated on Richard’s behalf.

On seeing all the facts, Mazda upped its goodwill offer to 50%, and SG Petch went the extra mile, offering to cover the remaining 50%. A spokesman for SG Petch said: ‘We decided to help out Mr Carling as he is a loyal customer.’

What if this happens to you?

  • Take dated photos of any defect as soon as you spot it.
  • Don't hang around. Take the car to the dealer as quickly as possible. The claim is more likely to be be accepted if you don't dawdle.
  • If the dealer won't approve your claim, send the photos and inspection documents directly to the manufacturer.