Why won't my used car warranty cover suspension failure on my Citroen C4 Grand Picasso?

In May of this year I purchased a 2007 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso from a Lexus dealer in the north-west for £8800, financed by Lexus. Included in the price was a comprehensive 12-month warranty. About a month later I started to notice problems with the rear pneumatic suspension. I called the dealer and was told to take it to the nearest Citroen dealer (Chapel House in St. Helens). I did not have the warranty details at this point. The fault was diagnosed as worn suspension air cushions and they needed replacing. I now understand that this is a common fault.

As I did not have the warranty details, phone calls took place between Chapel House, the Lexus dealer and the warranty company AON. The work was carried out. A day or so later the suspension warning light come on again, but the suspension seemed fine. I took the car back to Chapel House. A faulty sensor was diagnosed and this was reset. About a month ago I started to notice that the suspension was starting to look faulty again and there was a groaning noise from the rear. It gradually got worse. I informed Chapel House and the vehicle was booked in for 6 September. I thought it may have been the airbags again. I was informed on 8 September that in fact it was the suspension compressor. I gave them my warranty details as I had now received them. I was informed the following day that this component wasn’t covered by my warranty and they hadn’t been paid for the work previously done.

I then called the Lexus dealer. He was baffled, but it turns out that the warranty doesn’t state that pneumatic suspension is covered, nor does it state that it isn’t. I mentioned the six month period that you often write about, during which the selling dealer is liable for the repair. The dealer says that as he carried out a 120 point safety check on the vehicle before I picked it up they have covered their legal obligations and the 6-month period isn’t valid because of this. As I write they are trying to find a solution to help me, but I am in limbo as the car has now been off the road for over a week, is not in a drivable condition and the estimate for the work is over £600, which at this moment in time I haven’t got.

Asked on 10 September 2011 by JH, via email

Answered by Honest John
The dealer who sold you the car is entirely wrong and is in fact responsible for any fault that could have been present or developing on the car on the date of sale for six months from the date of sale. The law is here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/consumer-rights/

You can sue using Clegg v Olle Anderson (2003), which was a Supreme Court ruling.
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