I took my car to a Seat/Suzuki garage to have two new tyres fitted. I own a Volvo. These tyres were bought via an online tyre buying website and I selected a particular garage due to it being given'premier' status for their quality of service, with no pushy sales practices. Having booked the car in with them I relaxed in their reception room. After 15 minutes or so I looked through the customer viewing window and found a mechanic was conduting a check of my brake fluid, the air conditioning and was fitting electronic equipment to the engine management unit. I queried what was happening and asked them to stop working on the car. The Manager stated 'it's duty of care' we have to check your car for any faults so there's no defects when you leave. I shan't continue relating our conversation in this forum -
However it was not until I demanded that they stop work on the car that he responded, saying I would have to sign a document to state I did not want the duty of care check.
The tyres were changed and the car returned to me. I was not asked to sign anything and was told to check the Internet and I would find what he said was correct. I asked if there was any statutory or legal requirement to complete the 'check' or was it just a cynical ploy to get additional work to be paid for by an un-suspecting customer. He told me to leave, which I did.
So the question I ask is - is there such a legal requirement to complete this duty of care? Or is it just a simple con trick to "find" work ? If it was open and honest I would expected to have been advised of this before any work was started. I have never been a customer of theirs before.
If the motor trade was as good as it claims they all should do the same. They are not supposed to let a vehicle they are working on back onto the road unless it is legal. Therefore, a visit to a garage to get, say, a bulb fitted in theory should be about the same as an MOT. That is if I have interpreted the rules correctly.
Aye! but this sort of thing could be used by less scrupulous garages, as a way of ripping car owners off.
For example, you take your car in to one of those exhaust shops, to get a new tail pipe fitted. Then before you know it, they are charging you for an oil change and a couple of new tyres that you didn't even need?
Thanks wagolynn - from your reply do I guess that you have access to the motor trade rules of some description? If so where can I access them. Thanks.
I do not agree with the above response by Wagolynn. If you had chosen a branch of National Tyres or Kwik-Fit, they would not have carried out a health check or whatever name this dealer uses. They would have changed the tyres as requested and that would be that. As it would in any honest garage. Having worked in a Suzuki dealership as the workshop foreman, I can say the practice outlined above would NOT have been done in our dealership. Had you had the brake pads replaced then the fluid level, of course, would have been adjusted.
As for a Seat/Suzuki dealership connecting to your engine management system, they would have been severely limited. Volvo run an entirely different system to anyone else so Suzuki Tech 2/3 would only give EOBD readings as would the Seat on 1551 or whatever it is called now.
In my view this is just a marketing ploy. You only have to look at how quiet a lot of dealers are to see what is happening. If this garage is a member of one of the garage schemes such as Motor Codes, The Good Garage Scheme or Motor Trade Partnership with Trading Standards, you can contact them with your concerns.
Hometune - thank you very much for your response. You have expressed what I had thought to be the proper situation and supports my view of how in-appropriate (to say the least) their actions were. I shall make contact with the appropriate Motoring Association.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. Butterflyfish.
I am not in the motor trade, but I have been told more than once, by people in the trade, that the above is a version of the duty of care expected by the motor trade in law. They would usually be complaining about it. What I usually do in such situations, is wait for their report. (I would already have agreed the price of the work I was in for; therefore, I have already agreed to pay for the extra effort even though I may not have known) If what they say needs attention does not sound right, I will then say, 'show me', this usually sorts the men from the boys. I suppose not many people bother to question, or are worried about appearing to be a fool; I know what I am.
Originally Posted by butterflyfish
I have never heard of a duty of care regarding a garage/workshop, in relation to a customer's car. As the Law stands, a garage cannot refuse to hand a vehicle back to the owner for any reason, so there really is no point to a duty of care. As far as I am aware, the only recourse a garage/workshop has is to notify the Police if it is considered the vehicle is in a dangerous/unroadworthy condition.
As has been said, the "duty of care" sounds like a load of old pony and an excuse to find additional work.
But unless they ask and you agree to that work, they can't do it or charge you for it, so can it do any harm?
So, is it dishonest? Or just immoral?
As there was no discussion beforehand, how are they to know that a 'custom' chip has not been fitted, or the connector plug re-wired? In both these instances it would not be unrealistic that they could have caused damage to electronic equipment. (I know a chap who is a bit of an electronics wizard, and makes his own diagnostic equipment, he has a love of fitting LCD readout panels into his dashboard coupled to 'standard' electronics.)