If you’ve picked up your Jaguar or Bentley at the luxury repair garage and there is a scratch or dent on the side of the vehicle, what do you do? There are legal avenues you can take to rectify the situation.
Seeking Legal Remedy
The garage has a general duty of care to look after your vehicle while it is on their premises undergoing service and repairs. If your car is damaged due to staff negligence, any subsequent repairs, or their cost, will be the garage’s responsibility.
The garage does not accept liability for any damage done to your car whilst on their premises or if the repairs were carried out in an unsatisfactory manner you should put your complaint in writing, stipulating the garage rectify the matter by a specific date. You may need to get a written report from an independent engineer or technician, such as provided by the AA or RAC, to provide technical evidence to back up your claim against the garage owner(s).
If the garage does not respond to your written request, you may have to have the defects repaired by another garage (it is best to inform the new garage that the repair is the subject of a dispute over faulty repairs or damages). You will have to pay for the repair and then claim the repair costs back from the first garage.
You may wish to use the services of a trade association, if the garage is a member, or take action in the county court. You should bear in mind that, if the dispute does go to county court, the court may not accept an independent report commissioned by which it has not authorised prior to proceedings and it may not allow the repair costs to be claimed back. Furthermore, there is a limit on the amount you can recover for expert’s fees in the small claims track of the county court.
Dispute situations can be quite complex and, therefore, you should contact Consumer Direct as soon as any dispute start to develop. They will be able to guide you and advise you on the right course of action.
How do I check if the garage is reputable? Look for symbols displayed with their logo, which may tell you if the garage is a member of a recognised trade association such as the Retail Motor Industry Federation for example. You could also ask colleagues and friends if they have used a good garage and can recommend one or if they can warn you against a disreputable garage in the local area.
Be sure to check that the chosen garage offers you comprehensive information on repair and servicing options, together with prices, so you can make an informed decision before you book your car in and confirm all details in writing, including cost for parts and labor.
If the garage is not willing to adhere to your stipulations prior to carrying out the work, or you are unhappy with the proposed repairs or their cost, don’t hesitate to walk away and seek a second opinion or option.