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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I had a major service done on my car on the 13/5/14 and it

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I had a major service done on my car on the 13/5/14 and it was brought back to me with a report that everything was fine. There was a major problem with the car and I returned it to the same garage informing them that there was a major problem with smoke coming from the exhaust and a strange pinking sound on the 14/5/14.
They returned my car to me on the 16/5/14 saying they had fixed the problem. I drove the car 30 miles with no problem, parked the vehicle up for the night. Started the car the next day, and pop, the car blew badly and chucked out a huge amount of smoke and became unusable. I checked with trading standards on my rights, and by law I must offer the same garage the opportunity to resolve the matter. They have had my vehicle for over a week and are unable to fix it, they are going to give it to a specialist to look at.
What worries me is that they have charged me in excess of £800.00 for each time it's gone in and yet the problem has not been fixed. They have also clearly stated on the service sheet that all the engine breather pipes were clear, yet on the second visit they stated that all the breather pipes including a pcv valve were blocked and needed replacing!!! Another £800.00+ bill. I have had to pay for a 8 coil packs at a cost of £800.00+ and I do not think I needed to have this done as it is related to the initial problem.

Where do I stand legally on this, as I feel they are now going to charge me for further repairs on the same problem!!!
My name isXXXXX and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.

Did you have any problems before the car was taken to the garage or did they arise ater the servicing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The problem was there before the service, but got extremely worse after the service
OK. I just need to be clear in my mind about this: what was the problem before the car went to the garage and how has this changed since the service?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The car was making a funny pinking sound everytime I accelerated & a small amount of smoke was coming out of the right exhaust. I took it to them as I bought the car from them. The car has been running fine for the last year.
It has been into this garage for the same problem on numerous occassions.

OK. Unless this was a brand new car when you bought it, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 is unlikely to be of much use. This is because more than 12 months have passed since the date of purchase and you have undoubtedly clocked up some mileage. The garage will simply say that any problems with the car are due to wear and tear. If it is an older car they will argue that this is only to be expected. However, you might have a claim under the Sale of Goods and Services Act 1982 on the basis that the garage has failed to exercise reasonable skill and care in dealing with the problem. What this means that a tradesman or professional has a 'duty of care' towards you and your car. Any standard or price you agree must be honoured. But if it isn't agreed in advance the work must be done to a reasonable standard, at a reasonable cost, and within a reasonable time. If you believe the garage has failed to exercise reasonable skill and care you only need to pay them what you think is a reasonable sum for the work they've done and invite them to sue you for the rest. The danger with this is that they may decide to keep your car as a lien. In which case you'd be better of paying the full amount and then suing the garage for a refund. In order to prove your case you will also need to obtain a report from an engineer or other suitably qualified person to assess whether the garage has done the work properly or not. When you have this information you can then decide whether to take the matter further.

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