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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12183
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Hi I have recently had a very bad turn of events, when my

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I have recently had a very bad turn of events, when my Audi A4 (59 Plate) broke down quite spectacularly. Upon limping it to the Audi garage, I was faced with an 8000 pound quote to replace a broken engine. This first part of the story, though upsetting in itself, is not my problem. I'm just setting the scene...
Following this, I decided I couldn't afford 8000 so I took my car to an independent, reputable garage that specialises in high performance cars. The garage was highly recommended to me, and up until now I have nothing bad to say of them.
The garage were happy to carry out an engine swap, but were not happy to provide an engine. Therefore I used a search engine to find the specific unit (car engine) I wanted, a unit which I cannot buy directly from Audi due to the relatively new age of my car. I was then promptly contacted by a firm called 1st Choice Engineering, based in Scotland. They told me that they could provide me with a reconditioned engine that matched my specifications on a return basis for 1605 pounds. In other words once my garage received the engine and installed it they (1st Choice Engineering) would collect the old unit and keep it as theirs. That sounded fair enough to me, and it explained the relatively low price. I accepted the terms online and then made payment using my wife's HSBC credit card (which is held only in her name).
The engine arrived and was installed by my garage. As soon as they tried to run it, however, the engine didn't work. After some testing and inspecting, my garage finally spoke to 1st Choice Engineering who agreed that something was clearly wrong with the engine and that they would take it back to fix it. I agreed, which then meant that the engine was removed, sent back to 1st Choice again, fixed by 1st Choice and then sent back to my garage who reinstalled it. By that time the entire process had taken several weeks. The removal and installation of the engine cost me (roughly) 1000 pounds.
However, once started, the new engine still did not work. To make matters worse, it then began to leak oil out of the front, indicating that something clearly wasn't in order. I instructed the garage to photograph all of this, removed authority for 1st Choice to collect my own original engine (which at this point is sat on a pallet).
Upon contacting 1st Choice, I told them that my engine was still not working. They instantly went back down the route of suggesting I send the engine back to them to be repaired. I then said I cannot afford to spend another 1000 pounds to remove and fit their engine, racking up a bill of 2000 pounds for unesesary work. Clearly if they returned the engine faulty a third time, my garage would then need to remove it again, costing another 1000 and so on. I therefore told them that I would be sending their engine back to them and that I no longer wanted it. They are now arguing that they will not pay any kind of refund, and they argue that they do not need to pay me any money for the additional work the faults in their engine have caused, this being- apparently- company policy. I have never seen their company policy, incidentally, their website is pretty basic and their contract even more so. Are they right to say they don't owe me anything? Is there any way I can claw any of my money back at all? And finally... do I have the right to hold onto their engine and argue that I will keep (and sell) it to reclaim some of my costs?
Any advice would be massively appreciated. Thanks
Richard Coffin
Thank you for your question.
Section 14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 ("the Act")says that goods have to be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. On two occasions this company have failed in that and are therefore in breach of contract.
Your remedies are to reject the goods and claim damages or to retain the goods and claim damages. The amount of the damages are all losses directly arising from the breach, in this case the additional fitting and removal costs and the cost of a replacement engine elsewhere, possibly also the cost of a replacement vehicle for the additional period that yours is off the road.
You are free to sell the engine to set against your costs because you bought the engine and it is yours, so what you are doing is retaining the goods and claiming damages in addition.
Happy to discuss further. You should also read the Act which is available online as this wil assist you in your dealings with this company.
Finally, whatever their company policy is is irrelevant unless there is a specific contractual terms to that effect. A company policy cannot exclude your statutory rights under the Act.
I hope this helps.
Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
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