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The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in Kynaston-Mainwaring v. GVE London Limited [2022] EWCA Civ 1339, concerning the purchase and flooding of a luxury Mercedes-Benz AMG GTC Roadster convertible.

The Respondent had purchased the vehicle from GVE London Limited (“GVE”) for £122,000. In November 2019, it suffered catastrophic flooding, after being parked outside, with extensive damage being caused to the car’s electrical components.

At the trial below, the Judge accepted the explanation for the flooding which was provided by the parties’ experts. This was that a blocked drainage channel had resulted in rainwater overflowing into the car’s passenger footwell. The blockage was attributed to a potential design weakness of the drainage channel. The Judge ultimately concluded that this car was not of satisfactory quality, pursuant to section 9 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

GVE challenged the decision on appeal, contending that the Judge had erred in fact, in finding that this car was not of satisfactory quality. GVE also argued that the Judge had erred in law, when applying section 9 of the 2015 Act.

The Court of Appeal (Phillips LJ, with Green and Snowden LJJ concurring) dismissed the appeal on both grounds. The Court held that the Appellant had not demonstrated that the Judge was plainly wrong, nor that his decision was one that no reasonable judge could have reached, in respect of his key finding of fact, being that the blocked drainage channel was cleared during a service in May 2019.

The Court also emphasised that the judge below had decided that the particular car in question was not of satisfactory quality. The Court made clear that its judgment on appeal should not be taken as a more general determination, or even support for a wider view, that this model of car, or this design of drainage channel, has an inherent defect such as to render other such vehicles not of satisfactory quality. 

Robert Weekes KC and Celia Rooney acted for the successful Respondent on the appeal.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment is available here

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