Split seats come back to haunt Volvo owner

CASE STUDY Un­lucky Mark suf­fers re­cur­rence of cracked leather fault once SUV’S war­ranty has ex­pired

Auto Express - - Watch­dog - Hugo Griffiths

GET­TING a car fixed un­der war­ranty tends to be a straight­for­ward process, but what hap­pens if the prob­lem re­turns once the man­u­fac­turer’s guar­an­tee has ex­pired?

This was the prob­lem faced by Mark Mer­ley of Glas­gow. He bought a new Volvo XC90 Ac­tive in 2010, and was dis­mayed to find the syn­thetic leather on its driver’s seat crack­ing af­ter only a year and a half. At the time Volvo agreed to re­uphol­ster the seat un­der war­ranty, and Mark thought no more of it – only for the same is­sue to oc­cur five years later. “I’m a great fan of Volvo, so I was dis­ap­pointed to find the driver’s seat fab­ric be­gin­ning to crack again,” he said.

Mark took his XC90 to lo­cal dealer Tag­garts Volvo, which ex­plained that be­cause his car was out­side war­ranty, he wouldn’t be en­ti­tled to a full re­pair. In­stead, he was of­fered a 70 per cent con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the cost of re­uphol­ster­ing the seat, leav­ing him to pay £239 of the to­tal £798 re­pair cost.

How­ever, he wasn’t pleased that his seats would be re­cov­ered in a ma­te­rial that has now failed twice. In­stead, he sug­gested Volvo re­fund him the cost of up­hol­ster­ing the seats so he could have them trimmed in a dif­fer­ent leather fab­ric. But Volvo UK said it wouldn’t im­prove on the orig­i­nal 70 per cent of­fer, as the car was out­side war­ranty. Turn­ing to Auto Ex­press, Mark said he shouldn’t be left out of pocket for the fail­ing seats, “as there is clearly a prob­lem for them to fail twice in 60,000 miles”.

We con­tacted the man­u­fac­turer on Mark’s be­half, but a spokesman said the com­pany was stick­ing by its of­fer. “We’re sorry that Mr Mer­ley suf­fered a re­peat is­sue with his seat fab­ric. As the ve­hi­cle is more than seven years old, it falls out­side both the war­ranty pe­riod and our usual good­will pa­ram­e­ters,” he told us. “How­ever, we have taken into ac­count his loy­alty and of­fered to con­trib­ute 70 per cent to­ward the cost of the re­pair. We feel this is a gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tion.”

Mark wasn’t sat­is­fied, say­ing: “I wouldn’t ex­pect to see a re­peat oc­cur­rence of the same is­sue. It’s hap­pened twice al­ready. As it’ll be re­paired us­ing the same ma­te­rial, it looks like I’ll need to bud­get another £800 if and when the prob­lem presents it­self again.”

“Syn­thetic leather driver’s seat in Mark’s XC90 cracked af­ter only a year and a half, then again five years later”

Mark wasn’t happy that seat trim in Volvo had failed for a sec­ond time

CRACKED Volvo had fixed orig­i­nal crack un­der war­ranty, but re­fused to cover full re­pair bill with SUV no longer cov­ered

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