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I asked a professional car assessor for his opinion on my case, plus the costs of assessing my broken down vehicle. He is now claiming payment for his 'opinion'. Does he have a valid case that could win in court? (He is now threatening me with court action for a sum of £230).
This started with me calling him to ask if he would assess my broken down car as my warranty company were refusing to pay out. I then emailed him to thank him for his time on the phone. I wrote: I’d be interested in your opinion, plus understanding the costs from you of seeing and assessing the car for yourself, as this is how the warranty company have advised me to progress following the denial of my claim.
He then emailed me back with some comments, and has since contacted me three times to ask for payment for this email advice (£230 plus VAT), and is now threatening to take me to court.
Would he be likely to win this in court?
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Did you formally instruct him please?
Why did he do the work?
I called him as he advertised himself as an independent assessor for cars
We spoke on the phone and he asked me to send him details
I did so and said this in the email:
Thank you very much for your time on the phone just now.
Please find attached the report on our car from the assessor at the Warranty Group. You’ll find the details of the make / model of the car on here (BMW 5 series diesel).
I’m also going to forward you a report from the garage where the garage is currently.
I’d be interested in your opinion, plus understanding the costs from you of seeing and assessing the car for yourself, as this is how the warranty company have advised me to progress following the denial of my claim.
He replied with this:
Good morning Jo and nice to meet you
I do not accept a lot of private work BUT am very happy to do so when I suspect a member of the public is in danger of being ripped off , which is exactly what I feel here !
Despite your kind inclusion of web comments etc. , I have had to make my own research and this confirms my own feelings : -
1. That the timing chain is completely different to a belt , the latter needing periodic renewal
2. There is no requirement to change a chain , at any time
3. Despite mention of warnings likely to he displayed within the car , This is just not the case : The chain would never stretch
to a degree where the timing was sufficiently displaced and cause a malfunction warning
4. It is very unlikely that a noise of significance would be heard when driving and leading up to the eventual failure
5. The eventual failure would effectively take place without warning
6. There is nothing that you or indeed me ! could have done to avoid this failure
My Advice :
If the cost will be under £10K, Then use The County Court Small Claims ( This new higher limit came into force on 01 April last year )
You would not need a solicitor I feel
You should warn TWG that you will be calling an Expert and that is all you need
If the cost will be in excess of £10K you should use a solicitor and then costs will really rise !
Remember too that you should include claims for downtime, loss of convenience and cost of alternative car hire
I can put 1. > 6. Above into a CPR35 complaint report if you so desire ( wouldn’t take me long ) but you may feel you want to warn TWG first
You can forward my email but deleting ( editing is possible when forwarding ) the more personal aspects of what I say
I work at £154 per hour , NO VAT , plus disbursements
Call me Jo , if you want a chat but I believe I’ve pointed you the right way
Chris 07860 911347
He then contacted me some time later with this email:ANY NEWS PLEASE JOANNE ; Perhaps I should Fee you now ? So you can include that in your claim
RSVP and thanks
Good morning Chris,
Whist your advice has been appreciated I can’t understand where I’ve agreed to pay you a fee for this? Any cost implications should have been advised of up front. Throughout this whole situation I feel that I am being ripped off by every company or individual that I come across!
He then emailed me again:
My apologies Jo for my tardy response :
I am hoping you are excluding me from your feeling of being ripped off ! a feeling I did express within my first email on 08 July
Your own first email to me did request my opinions and I presume you would realise I am not a charity :
I agree you did ask at that email of my Fees but did not halt my opinion
I am not VAT registered any more and I will leave it to your conscious to remit what you feel would be fair
His final email is the following:
I have tried to be reasonable here and left it to you to make me a reasonable offer
You have not done so
I think I shall issue for £231 , being 1.5 hours without VAT
Which Court will suit you ?
Why did you ask him for advice if you did not want to instruct him?
My primary aim was to find someone to assess the car. This was what I talked about on the phone when I first spoke to this man. Whilst on the phone he volunteered to look at the information about the car.
Ok - why did you let him look at the car?
Did you sign any terms?
He didn't look at the car. I did not instruct him to look at the car, the only thing he did was reply to my email.
No, I didn't sign any terms or agree to pay any fees. I specifically asked him in my first email to outline his costs for viewing the car, as that is the only work I initially wanted to be done.
Then you do not need to worry. You did not instruct him, he did not look at the car, you did not sign any terms or conditions.
As such you had no intention to enter a contract. That means you are not liable.
Even if he pursued a small claim he would have no contractual documents.
There simply is no contract and therefore you are not liable
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
OK that's clear thank you.