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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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We are a mobile car body repair franchise. Our T&Cs offer a

Customer Question

We are a mobile car body repair franchise. Our T&Cs offer a localised repair which is visually undetectable to the untrained eye. Where rectification is required, we offer to do it ourselves, refund the money, or use a local independent bodyshop known to us. We limit our liability to the panel under repair and to the cost of rectifying that one panel.

Some customers have refused all of these remedies and demanded high cost repairs at dealership bodyshops, with extended spraying onto other panels. To "maintain the brand" our franchisor has also overridden our T&Cs and charged us huge amounts to give customers what they demand.

Are our T&Cs really not worth the ink in a court of law?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.

taratill : Hello my name is Jenny and I happy to help you. Do you have a contract with the franchiser which allows them to do this?
JACUSTOMER-vei1ejcc- :

I don't recall seeing anything specific in the contract about imposing remedies upon us, although they do have wide ranging powers. Their legal person, and the customers, are challenging us on the grounds that our T&Cs represent an unfair contract. The OFT website on consumer advice also does not say that consumers have a specific right to reject a perfectly good remedy in favour of a more expensive one to achieve the result we have contracted to provide, except in the case where suppliers actually decline to provide a remedy at all. We, however, do offer a remedy - if all else fails we can give a refund or get the work done in a bodyshop which we have used for a long time. If we fail ourselves (in two cases we had made two attempts from the van) then we usually use a good local independent bodyshop and have done for years. The contract with the customer is to provide a SMART (Small to medium area repair) within a panel, not to spray along the adjoining panels. Certain bodyshops, especially dealerships, spray the adjoining panels as a matter of course and this is what some of our customers are demanding as they cannot distinguish between us damaging their car and failing to effect a good repair as contracted. I charged one customer £120 for a wing repair which went wrong twice. I offered to get it done in our local bodyshop, which would have cost us £150 but he went to Volvo and is claiming double on the grounds that we have damaged his car because they blended onto the next panel. However, Volvo do that anyway because that is how they work. But we contractually offer a repair that is visually good to the naked untrained eye, not one that will go under bodyshop lights, and this is all explicitly explained in our T&CS which are printed on the reverse of the quotation.

JACUSTOMER-vei1ejcc- :

We had no choice about signing the franchisor's T&Cs if we wanted to renew our businesses so surely this could also represent an unfair contract if challenged?

taratill :

Do you have a copy of the franchisor's t's and c's? Can you tell me the specific clause which allows them to override your t's and c's about remedies to customers?

taratill :

I can advise you in general terms if you do not have them but it would help it I could have the exact wording?

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