A scorned Mercedes owner has won himself an £850 payout after finding out that the leather seats in his vehicle were part plastic.
According to the Daily Mail, 72-year-old retired businessman Kerry Costello paid just under £35,000 for a barely used Mercedes Benz300 Cabriolet with supposedly black leather interior from his local UK dealer in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, last February.
He became suspicious after reading a story in the same publication that revealed how another Mercedes owner sent samples from his seats to be tested in a laboratory and discovered that parts of the upholstery were made of polyurethane.
Costello went back to his dealer to ask if his seats contained the plastic too but did not get a satisfactory response, something which prompted him to complain to the Motor Ombudsman.
Mercedes charges buyers a premium of £912.50 if they opt for leather seats on new cars but not for those covered in Artico, a synthetic material similar to vinyl. The company told the Ombudsman that the seat is leather but other materials are used to give it "rigidity and structure". They also claimed that Costello did not incur a loss as he did not pay directly for the leather seats because the car was a used one.
However, an arbitrator ruled in the complainant's favor, branding the description of the seats "misleading", adding, "I think that if documents say the interior is leather, the assumption would be that this is fully leather."
As mentioned above, Costello was awarded £850. He is now hoping that other owners follow him and take Mercedes to task for misleading buyers in this manner.
"I paid a lot of money for this car and expected an accurate description of what I was paying for'" he said. "If other drivers follow the same path as me I expect they will get the same result."