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Company denying responsibility.

(11 Posts)
SunflowerHouse Tue 28-Feb-17 19:22:28

A few months ago I took our car to a shop to buy a new bulb for one headlamp and have it fitted. It cost around £20. The man was really nice and in the process of fitting the bulb I had bought, he noticed the other one needed tightening and did this free of charge and off I went. The car went in for its service recently and our mechanic told us that the lamp units for both headlamps would need replacing at a cost of around £500 as the bulbs had been fitted incorrectly and had caused the plastic to melt. We took the car to another garage and they confirmed what the first garage had said. We went into the shop and they advised us to complete a claims form, enclose both quotes and send off to the claims department. Today we have recieved an email to say that, although the person fitting (they claim it was the manager) can't remember the job, they have 12 years experience and so couldn't have possibly fitted both bulbs incorrectly and so they would not be taking responsibility for our claim. I remember the man who fitted the bulb and I most definitely wasn't the manager.
My question is, do we have a leg to stand on? And if we do, what is our next step?

prh47bridge Tue 28-Feb-17 20:28:27

If they did not exercise reasonable care and skill when fitting the new bulb and tightening the other they are liable for the damage. The problem you have is proving that they are responsible for the damage. You don't need proof beyond reasonable doubt but you will need to convince the courts that on the balance of probabilities the problem was caused by the shop. From the description you give I suspect you don't have proof.

If you don't have proof you could still try sending a letter before action demanding that they pay, giving them a deadline to do so and saying you will take legal action if they don't. That might be enough to push them into paying. But it is unlikely to be worth taking this to court if it is just your word against theirs.

SunflowerHouse Tue 28-Feb-17 21:19:21

Thankyou for responding, I did suspect that this would be the case. The only proof I have is a receipt for the bulb and fitting and the fact that the mechanics have both concluded that the damage has been caused by incorrectly fitted bulbs. I think a letter before action will be our next step.

RedHelenB Wed 01-Mar-17 08:57:42

I would go after the car manufacturer, stupid to have the plastic melt so easily.

prh47bridge Wed 01-Mar-17 09:48:11

The OP has no legal rights against the manufacturer. If the design is poor the manufacturer may be willing to make a goodwill gesture. But a halogen headlamp bulb reaches a temperature of several hundred degrees when it is switched on. That is hot enough to melt most plastics. If the bulb is forced into a position that puts it in contact with plastic it is not surprising that the plastic will melt.

onlyconnect Wed 01-Mar-17 09:57:34

If it were me I'd either phone or go in towards the end of their working day. Take your quotes with you- do they include something that says the bulbs were incorrectly fitted? If not see if you can get something like that. Plan some questions like , "can you confirm that these are the bulbs you supplied? "; "can you explain how this could have happened?" Try and get so you're both sitting down ( for your comfort, it could take a while). Remain clam and reasonable but argue your case firmly and persistently. Look as if you're not going to leave be until you get what you want. Sometimes people just give in to get rid of you.
If you pursue it legally it could cost you and be hard to prove but you might be able to get them to give in.

SunflowerHouse Wed 01-Mar-17 10:28:08

Yes, both quotes state that the damage has been caused by incorrectly fitting bulbs. I will be making a nuisance of myself! When we initially went into the store, they said the could only deal with claims of £100 or less. Anything over this had to go through their claims department. So I'm not sure if I can hope to get this resolved in person in store but I will certainly go in and dispute this. I'm annoyed that they are claiming the manager fitted the bulbs when this is untrue so this is definitely something I can contest face to face. Thanks for the advice.

RedHelenB Wed 01-Mar-17 11:08:22

Did it look as thought he was forcing the bulbs into position when he did it?
I think changing light bulbs is one of the easiest things to do on a car so it seems surprising that it could be so easy to fit them incorrectly? Definitely get the owners manual out to read how to do it correctly in the future!

MadamMooMoo Wed 01-Mar-17 11:11:38

You have proof you paid for fitting so that is evidence ebough surely?

ShotsFired Wed 01-Mar-17 13:34:18

I had a bulb incorrectly fitted at Halfords in the past. I was calm but insistent (persistent?) and ended up with a full refund of the bulb and fitting costs (rectifying the issue was easy and low cost so I didn't push for more). I dealt with CS and then the store manager directly.

They may have plenty of experience but that doesn't make them infallible.

onlyconnect Wed 01-Mar-17 13:46:55

I'd do what I said suggested in my earlier post but over the phone, just before they're due to close.

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