Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.
Did you buy the van from the main dealer? Also, was it new or used and had they notified you of the cost prior to repairing it?
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Many thanks for your patience. If they identified a fault which they promised to fix, then you can expect them to do so. If they are unable to fix it and it becomes apparent that the issue is something else, they should either have to re-quote you for that additional work, or allow you to complete the work elsewhere. Whilst they may have undertaken work to try and fix it and installed parts as a result, if that has not fixed the fault, then you should not have to pay for the full work undertaken to date. If they were trying to fix something that was not there or had fixed other issues which you had not asked them to do, then they should either offer a discounted rate for this or remove these parts and return the van to you in its original state.
What they are trying to do now is to keep the van as lien (i.e. as security) for the money you owe them. As you cannot physically go in and take the van, this does create a bit of a problem in how to take things further. What you can do is consider issuing a claim against them now for the value of the van and try to get compensation instead of the van, allowing you to potentially get a new one. Alternatively, you can try and make a court application to get a court order forcing them to return the van, or lastly, you can pay the money without any admission of their claims and then pursue them for the return of that money.
There is no right or wrong answer here – all options can be potentially successful and have their risks. Ideally you should not go to court unless absolutely necessary so you should try and resolve this without the need for legal action but it is there if you need it.
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I agree that it does not appear fair, sadly here isn’t always a fast fix and people have to try out different avenues before they get the resolution they were hoping for, or at least some kind of resolution.
If the van is in a worse state than at the beginning then they would be expected to fix that and bring it to its original state. Again, you cannot force them to do this but if they refuse then you can consider making a claim for compensation against them for these costs.
You should indeed consider contacting Trading Standards over this and if that does not help then consider taking this further. As mentioned you will most likely be looking for a compensation claim.
Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:
1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.
2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.
3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.
Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.
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