Mercedes-Benz seatbelt ‘fault’ sends child into dashboard
Zykiah Ditchett was thrown forwards into the car’s dashboard after his seatbelt failed during a low-speed crash involving his Mother Joanne’s Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Zykiah escaped physically unscathed following the shunt, but Joanne says the damage is deeper lying with the ten year old traumatised and reluctant to get back into a car.
Joanne has revealed to the Manchester Evening News that Mercedes have already reached out to her with an offer of compensation. She refused the offer however, because it came conditional with a confidentially clause.
Mercedes have stated that the problem in question is a one off, with their cars tested meticulously before being released to the public.
The accident in question occurred in April of this year whilst Zykiah and his older brother Zennon were being driven to school. Joanne said they were in stop-start traffic, when her foot slipped from the brake sending them into the car in front.
She said, “I heard Zykiah scream and I looked round and he had hit the dashboard. His seatbelt had just completely broken from the bolts that attach it to the seat.
“It was so lucky we weren’t travelling at a greater speed or it could have been fatal.”
The fault was immediately reported to Mercedes, and the vehicle was transported to Blackpool where it was examined and repaired.
The team at Blackpool got back in touch with Joanna after a few weeks telling her that no-one from Mercedes had been to inspect the fault, and could they proceed with a repair.
Joanne subsequently attempted to contact the bosses at Mercedes and Daimler, but was thwarted by a customer service department she described as “the worst she had ever seen”.
She said: “They just wanted to fit a new seatbelt and give it me back.
“I was mortified, horrified and in complete disbelief as to why they think I would risk my children’s lives and my own to trust their seatbelts as they still hadn’t investigated nor told me what caused the seatbelt to snap/fail in the first instance.”
She eventually took her case to Trading Standards, who recommended that she speak to the Financial Ombudsman.
Following this, Mercedes reimbursed Joanne the deposit for her vehicle plus four months payments for the car. Zykiah was awarded £500 as compensation. Joanne is still not satisfied, believing the manufacturer should have recalled the vehicle properly for a more thorough investigation.
Mercedes-Benz said in a statement: “This must have been a frightening experience for Mrs Ditchett’s son.
“We have been in regular contact with her since the accident and have recently come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.
“This is an unfortunate individual case. All of our cars undergo rigorous safety checks before they leave the factory.”