Watchdog: Maintenance row after leak blows TT’s stereo

Audi blames owner Martyn, but he says he can’t reach area where blockage formed

To keep your new car showroom fresh, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance advice. But that’s not always easy, as Audi TT Roadster owner Martyn Sexton will testify. He was faced with a bill of more than £2,000 to have the Multi Media Interface (MMI) repaired in his year-old car, after a blockage in the drainage system caused a leak and blown amp.

Martyn of Barnet, North London, told us: "The stereo stopped working and I noticed there was a ‘slushing’ sound in the top of the boot – where the roof would fold down and be stored. I couldn’t access the area to check it, so I took the car to my dealer."

Martyn said Whetstone Audi in London assumed the work would be approved under warranty, but Audi refused this, arguing it was caused by a build-up of leaves or dirt preventing rainwater running off the roof and out of the car.

Martyn claimed his TT was regularly cleaned, and there was no mention of this vital maintenance in the manual. He added: "How am I reasonably supposed to ensure leaves and dirt don’t build up in an area I don’t have visible or physical access to?"

Martyn found other reports of a TT Roadster suffering a similar problem online, and complained again to the dealer. It agreed to cover all but £150 of the cost, and throw in a £200 goodwill payment. But while that would essentially mean Martyn was not out of pocket, he was still unhappy the firm was refusing to accept liability.

We called Audi to ask why, and its spokesman said the dealer believed "the very high degree of roof channel blockage was consistent with the car having been parked regularly under densely packed trees or foliage for a sustained period, which would have caused or contributed to an abnormally high build-up".

The spokesman added: "We do not accept this issue has arisen as a result of any design flaw or manufacturing defect." The dealer has also offered to periodically inspect the car to prevent reoccurrence.

Martyn maintained: "this is clearly a design issue", however, and told us that as he’s concerned it could reoccur, he’s now seeking legal advice.

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