By Dean Dunham 27 February 2022

Have suppliers mis-sold driveway gravel to millions of households up and down the country? According to Sunday People reader Paul Kemp and several experts I have spoken to, the answer could be “yes”.

Paul from Birmingham ordered gravel for his driveway from an online supplier. He says the advert clearly labelled the gravel as ‘driveway aggregates’. Since laying the gravel in March 2019 he’s had two punctures on his car. On the second occasion the tyre was only four months old so he probed the tyre centre on how this could have happened. The first question they asked was “do you have a gravel driveway” and when he responded in the affirmative they confirmed that was the likely reason, explaining they see the problem often with gravel driveways.

Paul’s story caught my attention as I also have a gravel driveway, as will many other readers of this column. I therefore asked several car experts for their view and was astonished by the response. I was informed that punctures can easily be caused by gravel driveways if you are not supplied with “construction-grade” stones. A quick search of the internet then revealed that many online suppliers sell gravel for use on driveways that indeed are not construction grade.

I then discovered a second issue with using gravel on your driveway; it can cause your car to rust!  This, I am told, is because dust and dirt are collected in the stones  which can stick to the bottom of your vehicle. Dirt and rust naturally holds onto moisture and this promotes rust. Further, experts also warn that often gravel contains chemicals or has a high content of iron, which can also stick to under your vehicle and cause rust.

So, have consumers been mis-sold gravel driveways? Where the gravel is not construction grade but is described as ‘driveway aggregates’ or similar, my view is potentially yes. Clearly, such gravel could cause puncture and therefore contrary to the Consumer Rights Act would not be ‘fit for purpose’. The rust issue is more difficult although is certainly an interesting legal argument.

Paul has claimed a refund from the gravel supplier and claimed the cost of his tyres. It will be interesting to see what transpires.