Why doesn't my warranty cover gearbox damage sustained to my Zafira due to a failed needle roller bearing?

I wonder if you can offer any advice on the following situation? A 2-year Mechanical Breakdown Insurance from Auto Protect, purchased via the dealer in June 2009 at the same times as a secondhand Vauxhall Zafira, has the following qualifying clause in it: "Mechanical breakdown is the failure of a component causing a sudden stoppage of its function, for a reason other than wear and tear, normal deterioration or negligence."

The car suffered a gearbox failure and the cause was determined as the failure of a cage of needle roller bearings, the resulting debris damaging the teeth of several gears and hubs. Auto Protect is refusing the claim on the grounds that the failure was due to wear and tear of the bearing and say that such failures are to be expected on a car with 67,000 miles on the clock. It has been pointed out to Auto Protect that such a failure is premature because such components normally outlast the rest of the vehicle, but they say that this does not matter since the bearing failed because it was worn and is therefore not covered. Since any moving part can be described as worn from the moment the car is driven off the production line, it seems that Auto Protect can wriggle its way out of any claim. Your comments and views on the way forward would be appreciated.

Asked on 22 October 2010 by DJ, Kidderminster

Answered by Honest John
If the dealer won’t sort this out for you, I would take the dealer who sold you both the useless car and its useless warranty to the small claims track of the County Court citing Clegg v Olle Anderson 11-3-2003. What on earth is the point of a warranty if it contains exclusion clauses that exclude virtually everything? What do they mean, "such failures are expected"? That's why you paid for the warranty.
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