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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I paid a clock repairer £480 two years ago to fix a long case

Customer Question

I paid a clock repairer £480 two years ago to fix a long case clock that was my grandfather's, which I had given to my daughter. The clock repairer (City Clocks) took away the workings of the clock from my house and then brought the workings to my daughters house, where we'd moved the case, and installed the workings in the case. It stopped after half an hour. He offered to return the money but we said it would be fine if he just fixed it, so he took the workings away again. He went on at length about an operation he was about to have, so we didn't press for about six months, & then I have to admit we rather forgot about it.

18 months went by & I rang the firm just before last Christmas. It was clear they had forgotten about it. They say they left messages and emails but we didn't get them, and they didn't write a letter. Now they want to charge storage of £1 a day and it is very difficult to agree a delivery date with them. They also want to charge £75 for delivering, which they didn't charge last time. They say the first date they can manage is 13 May. I said I would pay storage if that was the only way to get the workings properly installed. I have not agreed to pay a delivery charge.

What are our rights? If I approach the small claims court, is the clock repairer allowed to continue charging storage until the matter is settled?

I'd like the workings back and installed professionally. If the repair fails, I would like the £480 back.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

See enquiry-


What are our rights? If I approach the small claims court, is the clock repairer allowed to continue charging storage until the matter is settled?


a. Can they legally charge for redelivery and reinstallation?


b. Are they right to say the repair is no longer under guarantee because we didn't answer messages on an evanescent medium (phone answer log)?


c. If we pay up and just get the thing delivered and the repair fails, what do we do?


d. Could a small claims court help us, and would storage charges keep mounting up until the matter was settled?


I put it to XXXXX that under the sale of goods act & consumer regs, they couldn't charge again for delivery and installation. They say the act doesn't cover antiques & their charge is reasonable.


All help gratefully appreciated. Thanks for your reply & sorry for the delay in replying.



Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Sorry for the delay.

Did you agree that there could be a storage charge originally?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.Is there anything in the terms of conditions that you signed allowing it?They have to show that you agreed it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. I don't remember signing anything. All I have is their invoice for when I paid them at the first repair says:

Invoice no. 14056

Service and repair to clock - collect and transport to our workshop Completely dismantle mechanism. Polish all wheel pivots and re-bush worn bearings. Retore dial. Assemble, set up, test and delivery with a 12 month on-site guarantee

total £ 480 received with thanks

Payment received 26.3.12/


Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

The clock repairer is in breach of the provisions of the Supply of Goods and Services Act in that he has failed to carry out the job with reasonable care and skill.

He is also in breach of contract.

He agreed to repair the clock for £480 and that is what you are entitled to have.

If you have to get the clock repaired somewhere else as a result of his incompetence, and it cost you more money then you could take him to court for the extra cost.

It is not unreasonable to pay one lot of carriage charge there and back but certainly not the carriage for the extra trip and certainly not storage unless he told you a long time ago that the clock was ready and you did not collect it.

They are correct that antiques are not covered by certain aspects of the consumer legislation however the repair is!

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Jo, thank you. I'll put these points to them and see what they say. I'm afraid City Clocks do have some form and there are a couple of quite bitter complaints about them online.


The only other point I wondered about was whether phone messages had any legal force. I'd write, myself, if I had some issue with a client, & don't understand why they didn't, as messages are so easily be erased by later ones. My feeling was that they could not claim they had left messages we wilfully ignored and that we were therefore to blame. There would be no advantage for us there. If we'd got messages, we'd have arranged delivery.


I will let you know how I get on. Meanwhile, thanks again.



Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I think you make a very valid point as to why you would ignore a message when you wanted the clock back!

However there is another issue with regard to the storage and that is that there is presumably nothing in their terms and conditions which allows them to charge for storage without notice and in any event, 1 pound per day which is £365 per year for storing a clock movement is probably a grossly exaggerated estimate of the actual cost of doing so.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'll mention that. I take it phone messages are so easily overwritten or not picked up they don't have the same standing as letters.


Jo, thank you for your clear replies.






Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
That is perfectly correct.

Some people never even listen to voicemail messages.

There is no way of knowing whether someone has received a telephone message or not and in fact they could actually have left it on the wrong telephone!