My car warranty won't cover the cost of repairs

If your car warranty won’t cover the cost of repairs, the company in question may be in breach of contract. It’s important to check the terms and conditions carefully.

The three types of car warranty 

Manufacturer's warranty  This is the warranty that a new car is sold with and ends after a set number of years, or could end sooner if the car covers a certain number of miles. 

This warranty is a contract between you and the manufacturer. 

It gives you rights against the manufacturer in addition to your rights under the Consumer Rights Act (which replaces the Sale of Goods Act from October 2015) against the dealer that sold the car. 

You also have rights against the Hire Purchase (HP) company under the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973 if you bought your car on HP.  

Dealer warranty  Usually supplied with the car, for example where the manufacturer's warranty has expired. 

The warranty cover may be provided either by the dealer itself or by a third party eg an insurance company.

Whether the cover is provided by the dealer or a third party, it creates specific obligations that the warranty provider must comply with (ie to do whatever the warranty says the dealer must do). 

These are also in addition to your rights against the dealer or any HP company.

Extended warranty  This is usually taken out by the owner of the car when the warranty the car came with has expired. 

It works in the same way as other warranties but is often bought directly from the warranty company on expiry of an existing warranty rather than being a warranty that is provided on the sale of the car.

Terms and conditions of the warranty

Companies may refuse to carry out repairs for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that the warranty didn’t cover the particular problem in the first place.

It's always important to check the terms and conditions of the warranty as this will show what is and isn’t covered.

Is it wear and tear?

A common exclusion in a warranty document is for wear and tear and some parts that may be covered if they fail prematurely may not be covered if the failure is due to everyday wear and tear. 

Telling the difference may be difficult and in practice you may need to get a second opinion.

Warranty company refuses to act

If the warranty company is refusing to pay up for something that is clearly covered then it'll be in breach of contract. 

You could potentially claim the cost of getting a third party to carry out the work. 

But you would need to give the warranty company every chance to change its mind and carry out the work and let it know that you will seek the repair costs from it if it continues to refuse.

Use our letter template to appeal to a warranty company who is refusing to pay for repairs.

Private sales and warranties  

If you bought the car privately, it may be that the warranty you were told the car had wasn’t capable of being transferred to a new owner. 

The warranty terms and conditions will say if it was or not. 

Or, it could be that the previous owner didn’t take the necessary steps to transfer the warranty for use by another person. 

If the car was bought on the basis that the warranty would be transferred, then the seller will be in breach of contract. 

You could potentially claim the cost of buying an equivalent warranty elsewhere for the duration of cover you should have received.

If the car dealer has gone bust

If the car dealer has gone bust, then it's key to check the terms of the warranty. 

Was the dealer offering cover or was it a third party that's still trading? 

If the warranty is provided by a third party, you'll still be able to make a claim from the provider. 

If you used your credit card to pay for a warranty costing over £100 then your card provider will be just as responsible for any breach of contract. You can use our letter to claim from your card issuer

In this instance, failure to carry out the repairs due to the dealer going out of business. And you could ask it to cover the cost of any work that would have been covered by the warranty. 

Keep the cost down as much as possible and before incurring this cost, always try to give your card provider the opportunity to arrange the repairs at its own expense.

The law and warranties 

A warranty is a contract between you and the warranty company. 

If the warranty company doesn't comply with the obligations it has under the warranty, then it'll be in breach of contract and liable to you for reasonable losses you have incurred as a result. 

You have a duty to keep your losses to a minimum so if you need to get someone else to fix the car, it's always a good idea to get a few quotes for the work. 

This way you can check that you're not being overcharged, which should reduce the likelihood of the warranty company saying that the losses you're asking to have reimbursed are higher than they need to be if the matter ever went to court or to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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