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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12195
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I own a small garage and provide loan and hire vhicles to my

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I own a small garage and provide loan and hire vhicles to my customers for when their vehicles are off the road and they need a car.

I have discovered that a customer lost a set of keys to one of my vehicles and obtained a copy by scanning the vehicle's secuity devices (Ford Focus with a manufacturers security system integral with the vehicle) to produce copy(ies) without ever seeking permission or any authoirty to scan/use the data within our vehicle. I have traced the company that did the deed and they actually advertise they will do this and have no restrictions of who they do the deed for.

To change the vehicles security to ensure the vehicle is not vulnerable to stealing using any other copies of the vehicles data will cost me around £500-£1,000.00 the customer (now abouit to be an excustomer) cares not one jot for the risks he has created and our own obligations to correct a known securtity breach! I can see our insurers refusing any cover shopuld the vehicle be involved on any claim for it being stolen or worse such as others being injured after the unlawful taking, or Taking WIthout Consent. Can I claim anything from the business that did the deed.
Thank you for your question.

You are entitled to pursue for any losses arising from the customer's use of the vehicle. As you can't accept the keys that they had manufactured, for good reasons of security and insurance, you are entitled to pursue for your costs of retrieving the situation and rectifying the vehicle.

The only issue may be that if it can be proved to the satisfaction of your insurers that no copies were made other than those handed to you AND no further copies can possibly be made by the company that made them, then that may resolve the issue. I doubt it however and you would be justified in pursuing your reasonable losses.

Happy to discuss further.

Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

While I am sure the customer is liable, but made of straw, is the business that did the deed without any appropriate checks also liable? Would any claim be a claim for their joint liability for the amounts it will cost us?


Oh BTW, as there cannot be proof of a negative, the insurers would initially deny cover until we could prove there were no other copies made - impossible!


Many thanks,



The company would not be liable unless they were doing something illegal. In the same that you refer to proving a negative, it's not for them under any law that I know to insist that their customers establish ownership of the vehicle, unlike for example, getting replacement number plates made where you do have to produce the registration document.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ah you make very good sence, I am aware that as a garage owner, Product Liability Laws can mean that if we agre to do something we know, or ought to know is, or is potentially dangerous to anyone, we are 100% liable unless we can establish an onward liability - or so I recall from my attendance at a training course about garage liabilities - We'll politely remind and explain to the customer (in writing) the liability his conduct created - that'll be a fun letter as the customer already refuses to accept that until the insurers pay us for the repairs to his vehicle, we have a lien over it and can only release it when we are paid (cleared funds)!


Already a load of his 'expert' friends and associates have told us we are illegal to seek payment for what we have done for him! Life!!


Have 100% ++ rated you on this site - once again, many thanks!

You're welcome.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Very Positive rating left and a small tip (20%) also as you coped very well with muy alsost endless enquiries!


Although I am not, I am sure as we say, Customers who'd have'em (al;ways joking as some are very high maintenance but good)! You have Clients (high maitenance and always concerned how much time they had to be charged for to keep telling them the same answers in many different ways until they accepted you were right, as originally you were!