Instead of getting his used car back on the road it is stuck in Topon’s garage as he ponders potential losses.
There’s the £5,000 he paid for a second-hand Volkswagen back in December 2015, the £1,356 estimate to replace brake parts and the £452 “5-star” three-year guarantee that he took out with insurer Click4Warranty last February.
The last of these expenses has turned out to be worthless because unwittingly Topon says he has not qualified for one of its key conditions.
“Both my son and I drive very little, less than 2,000 miles a year. I’m retired and my son is a busy professional,” explains the north Londoner, who decided nonetheless on the warranty because he thought with a used car it made sense to go the extra mile to protect it.
The vehicle had an official service history when Topon bought it but not since because of his very low mileage.
“When I went to the garage they said because I had done just a few hundred miles a service was not necessary,” he says. “The garage mechanics were only being honest, not wanting me to pay for something that I didn’t need. I appreciated that and left it there.”
However when the car broke down in the summer and Topon looked to see about a claim Click4Warranty, trading name of Future45 Ltd, asked for the service history in order to consider the repair.
While it is a condition of his policy, Topon says it was not highlighted to him prior to buying, nor was he asked how much mileage he did, which might have alerted him to a potential conflict.
“Being forewarned would’ve given me a choice. I would have made sure I got a garage to do a formal service so I had proof.
“Alternatively I could have decided not to go down the warranty route. Now I am left in the worst possible position.”
While he knows when a consumer takes out a contract they should read all the conditions first, Topon echoes a view more commonly held now when he says: “There were just so many terms I think there should be more awareness made for potentially unusual ones.”
Future45 says its policies can be purchased for cars with full, partial and no service history and that this feature is prominently displayed, adding: “We consider the service requirement from inception to be an important policy requirement.”
Topon’s claim had not been declined as it is still waiting for this, it told Crusader. But as Topon cannot produce that for his tenure, only a diagnostics analysis, his only other recourse is to complain to the Financial Ombudsman (Click4Warranty is authorised) about what he considers was a sales process that could have been clearer.
“There are many and will be more drivers like me. I hope this will alert them,” he says. “There seems a gap between policies’ requirements and how people live now.”
l Visit financial-ombudsman.org.uk