If your service garage fits a part during repair work, which has defects, and the part’s fitting was done recently, your service garage may have to give you a refund on the goods and they must replace the part with a proper one. Under the legal framework you can ask for a repair instead and still retain your right to a refund or replacement if the repair is done in an unsatisfactory way or faulty parts have been fitted to your luxury vehicle.
If repairs are inconvenient or time consuming, you may be entitled to receive compensation – compensation typically covers the cost of getting the work done at another garage.
The Consumer Credit Act of 1974 covers payments by credit card exceeding £100 of repair or servicing. In this situation your credit card provider is as responsible as the garage for what is referred to in legal terms as a breach of contract or a misrepresentation. In this instance you are entitled to take action against the garage owner. Unfortunately, you are not entitled pursue this legal remedy if you have paid for the work or services by charge cards or debit card.
If you suspect that a garage has included work or parts in your invoice which was clearly not done or which weren’t fitted to your car, or if the garage has fitted inferior parts when you stipulated that only one particular manufacturer’s parts should be installed, the garage may have committed a criminal offence and you should report it immediately to Consumer Direct or contact a solicitor.
This can be a grey area as far as the law is concerned, especially if you have neglected to confirm the work to be done in a written agreement prior to the work commencing. A verbal agreement will be unlikely to stand up in court and it will be hard to prove your case against the garage. In a court of law it will be your word against the word of the garage owner.
If the garage has carried out work without your permission, you could ask the garage to ‘reverse’ it and make good any alterations. However, this may cause even further problems, since it includes the possibility that such actions by the garage might render your vehicle un-roadworthy. The garage owner may also refuse to undo the work or impound the car if the garage doesn’t receive payment.
The garage is entitled to exercise what in legal terms is referred to as a lien over your car, which means they have a legal right to hold on to your vehicle until you have paid. Unfortunately, you will only be able to recover your car by paying ‘under protest’. You can later try to make a claim for reimbursement by taking legal action. Before you follow this route you should seek advice about paying “under protest” from either Consumer Direct or a solicitor.
Before booking in your car, be sure to agree every detail of work in writing!