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Legal advice re dodgy garage

(4 Posts)

To cut an extremely long story short, we had some major repair work done to the engine of our Nissan Navara in November/December as the head gasket went. The garage (the ONLY garage we could find that would deal with a head gasket) have caused nothing but problems ever since taking on this job...

After taking over 2 weeks, they cocked it up and it broke down again just hours after getting it back. They admitted they'd been careless when putting the engine back in had caused this. They took another couple of weeks to sort that out. All while we're having to fork out for hire vehicles to keep hubby working as he's self employed.

Then when we got it back again we started smelling a strong odour of oil. Then another couple of days later it started making a high-pitched screeching noise. The garage claimed they weren't responsible and after taking a look said the turbo had now gone. Hubby got a new turbo and fitted it himself. He took it back to the garage for its 500 mile check that was included in the warranty and they said he'd done a good job, and the screeching noise stopped. This was just 2 days ago.

But today the screeching noise is back, it overheated and hubby is now sat on the hard shoulder of the motorway having broken down yet again. The issue is clearly not with the turbo.

The garage are refusing any responsibility - despite all these other breakdowns and problems occurring after they did the head gasket. Now they're claiming it's the radiator fan on its way out, that's why it's overheating - Hubby took a look at that, but the reason the fans on the way out is because it won't turn off! The fan comes on to initially cool the engine after starting, then automatically turns off when it's reached the optimum temperature. Our fan won't turn off, so that can't possibly be the reason it's overheated!

It's all just too coincidental that all this keeps happening after they did the head gasket, and saying it's the turbo / fan when it clearly isn't, are just lies and excuses to get out of his responsibility.

Where can we get legal advice for cases against garages? What should we do about this so we stay within the legal rules to take him to court?

LurkingHusband Sun 10-Jan-16 12:09:55

They did put right head gasket on, the right way round, didn't they ?

Sounds like an oil channel is blocked ...

Ready123 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:05:29

The best advice I can give you is to keep a written record of your communications with them if at all possible. It may be worth writing a strongly worded letter putting them on notice that you intend to claim against them on the basis of negligence / breach of contract, which will include a claim for your reasonably foreseeable loss (eg the hire car) for the period when they should have fixed the car, unless they agree to rectify it now at no additional cost. Make sure you mark the letter "without prejudice save as to costs". You may not at present have a claim but it may be enough to convince them that sorting out the problem is better than risking legal action. It is also worth setting out a chronology in the letter and in particular referring to any admissions they have made that they should have done things differently.

Alternatively you could take the car to another garage and ask them to fix the problem and put in writing what they think the first garage did wrong. That may form the basis of a claim against the first garage but honestly I would avoid legal action of this kind if you possibly can because costs escalate very quickly. I think giving the first garage one more chance may be preferable but it is up to you.

Ultimately the claim will turn on whether there is negligence or a breach of contract. This will involve evidence on what they agreed to do and to look at, as well as what a reasonable garage would have picked up on or done differently.

This is very off the cuff and general advice without full knowledge of the facts so please don't rely on it as anything other than a general suggestion for how to approach things! You should get think about getting proper legal advice if you do decide to proceed.

Ready123 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:07:52

PS any high street solicitor will probably have seen cases of this kind if you do decide to get legal advice. Try to agree a cap on fees if you do instruct somebody!

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