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Consumer: Roy left shifting uncomfortably over cost of new gearbox for car

By Claire McNeilly

Almost everyone dreads having a problem with a car – probably because you have absolutely no idea how much it's going to cost to fix it.

So when Roy McGowan's Renault Modus broke down he was filled with trepidation, particularly as it had just been serviced two weeks earlier.

Upon examination it emerged that the three-year-old vehicle needed a new gearbox as it was beyond repair.

But, unfortunately for the 74-year-old former engineer, he discovered that the car was no longer under warranty.

"I wanted the car fixed as soon as possible, but was really surprised to find out that it needed a new gearbox because it had just be serviced for a second time by Charles Hurst," said Roy.

When Mr McGowan, from Ballywalter, Co Down, paid £8,000 for the Renault in 2010 he was told it was covered with a standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty package.

However, although the car only had 8,020 miles on the clock, it was by this stage no longer covered by the manufacturer's guarantee.

"I was told I was going to need a completely new gearbox, costing well over £1,000, which is a lot of money – especially as the car is nearly new," he said.

"I have spoken to other people who own this particular model of car and a lot of them have experienced the same problem."

He added: "I'm also concerned after being told that the warranty for the new gearbox only guarantees it for one year."

Mr McGowan said that when he told Renault about his concerns, it offered to pay for part of the repair and bill him for £621.36.

As he wasn't satisfied with the offer, however, the Belfast Telegraph contacted the French multinational vehicle manufacturer on his behalf.

A spokesman said: "Renault UK has offered to cover 80% of the costs, however, as a further gesture of goodwill, they can authorise for the customer's contribution to be reduced down to £500."

If you have a problem with your car, here's what to do:

  • 1. Contact the company's customer services department and outline what's wrong.
  • 2. If you're dissatisfied with their response or how your complaint has been dealt with, phone Consumer Line on 0300 123 6262, or email

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