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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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In Jaunary of last year the automatic transmission of our

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Hi, in Jaunary of last year the automatic transmission of our car packed up and we brought it to a local auto mechanic. He told us it would be £1000 if he could fix it or £2,500 if he had to replace it. This estimate was not in writing. As the car was old (2004) and the book value was low, we said at the time that it would not make sense to replace but if he could repair it we would proceed. He said he needed some time to look at and if we were patient he could fit it around other projects. One month later we emailed his son (it is a father/son business) to check status as we were going away. He wrote to us saying he had good news, and that they could fix it. We wrote back saying that was great and confirming the £1000 price. To our surprise, he responded that the price would be £2,500. We responded that this was the price they quoted to replace the transmission and that it we would not proceed on this basis. We also made enquiries with other garages who quoted the same original £1,000 price. We asked for them to return the car and they refused until we paid an invoice of £1,100 reflecting their time for taking it apart to and for the cost of the parts -- without fixing it. We responded by registered post in May setting out the story above, objecting to the new price and again offering to pay the price originally quoted. Since then they have been sending us invoices monthly adding a £15 per day storage fee. We phoned again before Christmas hoping they might have finally come to their senses. There response was (get this) that they had since proceeded in repairing the car and they now wanted £4,000! They further said that unless we pay they are going to refer the matter to their solicitors. I just checked online and the book value for the car (if it was in fine working condition) is £500. At the time we brought it into the shop a year ago, it was £1,200, hence our decision to repair if possible (but never replace) the transmission. We have continued to pay insurance and road tax on the car. Any advice on how to proceed? This is crazy. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. So are you saying you did not give authority to proceed with the vehicle at the quoted price.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Jenny. We did not authorise any repairs on the car. The issue is that they were unsure when we took it in whether the transmission could be replaced or repaired. They told us if it could be repaired it would cost £1,000 and if it needed to be replaced it would cost £2,500. We agreed we would decide which way to proceed once they came to this determination. (They did not indicate there would be any costs for this evaluation and we were clear from the beginning that there was price sensitivity as this was an old car and and we did not want to throw good money after bad.) When they informed us that they could in fact repair the transmission they changed their quote for such repair to £2,500. When we informed them we would not proceed on this basis they sent us a bill for their time and for parts purchased. Later, without our authorisation and after we had already contested in writing the payment of their bill they (bizarrely) repaired the car and are now requesting £4,000. At this point, given the low book value of the car, I'd be inclined to let them have it and stop paying road tax and insurance but I do not believe this is an option. Moreover, we would still be exposed to litigation risk.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my is Alex and I will help you.
What is it you want to achieve please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We need to better understand our legal options and would like some high level advice on strategy. They have taken and held our car for nearly a year, refusing to return it unless we pay a price we never agreed to for work we never authorised. Moreover, they have threatened legal action and we do not wish to expose ourselves to liability (or suffer the costs and stress of court proceedings). We would like your advice on how best to proceed and your assessment of their chances of winning were they to sue us for £4,000 as they are suggesting. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
PS At this point, given the low book value of the car, I wish we could just walk away and stop paying road tax and insurance on the car but I do not believe this is an option.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
You should write and ask for the car back or say you will get a Court order within 14 days. The law says they should not carry out work without your prior permission or authorisation.
If they refuse then you can issue proceedings using form N208:
http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n208-eng.pdf
You are asking the Court to order that they deliver up the vehicle which is yours. Or you can sue for the value of the car.
You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk  or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. If we do nothing and stop paying road tax and insurance (ie we abandon the car) what do you believe their likelihood of success would be in court based on the facts presented if they decide to bring a claim?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
I think their odds are worse than yours. I think you have a claim.
Does that help?
Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, thanks for your help.

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