Country estate owner sues car dealership over water damaged Mercedes
Country estate owner who sued luxury car dealership for selling her a £122,000 Mercedes that filled with water when it rained wins £118,000 court battle
- Alison Kynaston-Mainwaring paid £122k for the Mercedes AMG GTC Roadster
- First time she left it parked outside she found car’s footwell had been flooded
- ‘Catastrophic’ leak destroyed electrics of the car, rendering it nearly worthless
- She sued the seller, GVE London Ltd, and won £118k payout at Court of Appeal
A country estate owner who sued over a leaky sports car that filled with water when it rained has won a £118,000 court battle with the seller.
Alison Kynaston-Mainwaring, 49, owner of the Hardwick Hall estate in Shropshire, said the ‘catastrophic’ leak had destroyed the electrics in her car, rendering it almost worthless.
Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring, a keen dressage rider who runs an equestrian centre on her estate, bought the Mercedes AMG GTC Roadster in August 2018, paying £122,000 for the two-door convertible.
But the first time she left parked outside of her garage, Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring found the car’s footwell full of rainwater.
She then sued the seller, luxury car retailer GVE London Ltd, and has now won a £118,334 payout from judges at the Court of Appeal.
Alison Kynaston-Mainwaring, 49, owner of the Hardwick Hall estate in Shropshire, said the ‘catastrophic’ leak had destroyed the electrics in her car, rendering it almost worthless
The Mercedes AMG GTC Roadster was purchased in August 2018, with Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring paying £122,000 for the two-door convertible
Lord Justice Phillips backed an earlier decision that the particular car Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring received was not of ‘satisfactory quality.’
However, he said the court’s finding did not mean that the problem was ‘inherent’ in GTC convertibles.
Along with her husband, Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring is the owner of the Hardwick Hall estate in Shropshire, which has a Grade-II listed early Georgian house at its centre.
The Hall built in 1720 has three storeys and a cellar, with villas flanking both the south and north sides, with parkland to the south and a lake to the north.
It was also the birthplace of notorious Shropshire Highwayman, Wild Humphrey Kynaston.
In his judgment, Lord Justice Phillips said that, after buying the car, Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring had kept it locked up in a specially-modified garage at her home.
It was only left outside for a few days in November 2019 and, on November 22, when she went to move it, she found the footwell full of water.
The leakage caused extensive damage to electrical components and wiring and experts later said it was rendered worth only around £8,500.
Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring is the owner of the Hardwick Hall estate in Shropshire (pictured)
Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring sued GVE London at the High Court in Manchester and, in March this year, was awarded a £118,334 payout.
The sum comprised a refund of the purchase price, less £5,000 for her use of the car, plus damages totaling £1,334.
At the High Court, Judge Richard Pearce had heard that the problem with the car was a blockage in a drainage channel from the roof, which had caused rainwater to overflow into the footwell.
He found there was no reason to suspect that the channel had not been cleared when the car was serviced in May 2018 or when delivered to Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring in September 2018.
However, in February 2019, there had been ‘misting’ in the car and, in April 2019, a mechanic who looked at it had found ‘dampness to the carpet’ on the floor.
GVE claimed that the problem was caused because the drainage channel had not been cleared when the car was serviced by a Mercedes-Benz dealer before it was delivered to Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring.
However the judge found it was more likely that the channel would have been cleared, as that was standard practice, and that Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring’s particular car must not have been ‘of satisfactory quality.’
Mrs Kynaston-Mainwaring is a keen dressage rider who runs an equestrian centre on her Hardwick Hall estate
Appealing, lawyers for GVE London argued that the judge’s finding that the channel had been cleared in May 2019 was based on ‘flawed reasoning and, to some extent, speculation.’
Ruling on the appeal, Lord Justice Phillips said GVE’s claim that the blockage was not cleared in May 2019 was ‘plausible,’ but that was not enough to overturn the earlier decision.
‘The appellant contended for a credible interpretation of the events leading up to the incident,’ he continued.
‘The issues in February and April 2019 were relatively minor in comparison with the incident of November 2019, supporting a hypothesis that the blockage, having not been cleared by the May 2019 service, worsened to the point of causing catastrophic flooding in November.
‘The question, however, is not whether the appellant put forward a plausible, or even preferable, reading of the evidence, but whether the appellant demonstrated that the judge was plainly wrong or, put another way, that the decision under appeal is one that no reasonable judge could have reached.
‘The answer, in my view, is that the appellant’s contentions clearly did not meet that test. The judge’s finding that the drainage channel was cleared during the May 2019 service was not without evidential foundation.
‘The judge made his decision on the basis of a combination of documentary and expert evidence.’
He added: ‘It follows, in my judgment, that the appellant was far from establishing that the judge’s key finding of fact in this case was plainly wrong.’
He said the result of the case had no ‘wider implication,’ since there was nothing to suggest that the GTE model itself has any ‘inherent defect.’
Lord Justice Snowden and Lord Justice Green agreed with his ruling and GVE London’s appeal against the £118,334 award was dismissed.
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