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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10398
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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We own a Ford car that has always been service by Ford

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Good morning,
We own a Ford car that has always been service by Ford garages. The car now makes a horrible noise from time to time, especially going up a steep hill. Our current garage says that it is the gearbox at fault and that it needs to be totally replaced at a cost of £4,000 inc VAT. Apparently this includes £500 goodwill from Ford (ie was £4,500). (Before we had this quote I separately called Ford and they said as the car is just over 6 years old and has done over 60,000 miles (actually 88k) that they won't give us any goodwill payment). What we have found out is that the previous Ford garage should have changed the oil and filter in the gearbox at the 3 years service. This garage had its Ford accreditation "taken away from them" last year according to our new garage. At the same time we have found an automatic gearbox specialist that is going to provide an independent report for us on what is wrong and would charge £3,753 inc VAT if they had to swop the whole gearbox. The "perfect" scenario for us is to the gearbox specialist make the repair and we receive compensation from the garage that didn't change the oil and filter (and if that isn't for the full amount then £500 too from Ford). We don't trust this garage to make the repair though as they didn't carry the three year service out properly and had their Ford accreditation removed. Hence we're concerned not to take it to them now as they may try a bodge repair. Once we have the independent report what should we do next?
Regards ***** ***** (*****@******.*** / 07867 905998)

What you want to know about this? Whether can claim the cost of the gearbox repair from the garage that failed to change the gearbox oil?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can I get the independent gearbox specialist to repair it and then claim the cost from the garage that didn't change the gearbox oil and filter, as scheduled at 3 years old? I may of course have to threaten to go to the Small Claims Court to do this.
Or does the above garage have the right to inspect the car beforehand? Can they insist they make the repair?

It is a provision of the Supply of Goods and Services Act which applies to contracts entered into before October 2015, that a job is carried out with reasonable care and skill and is as described.

If the service should have included a change of transmission fluid then they have failed to do that and hence they are in breach.

As a result of the breach, you may have suffered loss.

You are going to need a report from an independent engineer which confirms that the failure is as a result of the change of transmission fluid.

It’s not unreasonable to let the original garage effect the repair but I can understand in circumstances like this why you don’t want them to do it.

You don’t give them the opportunity to inspect the gearbox, they can allege that it was a completely different problem and hence, whilst you may not want them to do this, it is going to be a wise move to allow them to look at it.

Unless you can get the engineers report which is unequivocal in its opinion that this failure was caused by the non-changing of the fluid, then your claim will fail.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It doesn’t cost you anything but helps me greatly.

We can still exchange emails. Best wishes. FES.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, that's very helpful. Just so that I'm clear on the steps then (rather crudely):1 I get independent report.
2 I show report and car to the "at fault" garage but insist that the independent specialist does the work.
3 Independent specialist does the work and I ask garage to pay. If they don't, I go to Small Claims Court.Small Claims Court will accept that we didn't allow the garage to do the repair as we don't trust them to do it properly?

Broadly speaking. You are correct.

If you don’t let the garage do the work (understandable) they could argue that the work wasn’t necessary or wasn’t caused by their incompetence or that it’s been overcharged.

It would be for you to argue the opposite.

The most important thing is the report.

Remember that if you instruct the other garage to do the work, you are liable to pay for that and then recover it from the fault garage.

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