Question about garage that is struggling to mend my car
Hi, would just like some advice on my legal position with a garage that has had my car in for repair for nearly two weeks. It's a Renault Scenic 1.6vvt on a 08 plate (30,000 miles on the clock). The car started driving very badly the other weekend (kept losing acceleration), also had been starting badly for a while before.
I took the car into my local independent garage but they've failed to find the fault after nearly two weeks of trying and ruling out most of the obvious e.g. coils, blocked injectors. To make matters worse, they were convinced it was the dephaser pulley (a common Renault fault) so they replaced that along with the full timing belt kit, but all to no avail.
They have lent me a car for the bank holiday weekend and are determined to plough on next week but I'm not overly confident of their abilities now. Meanwhile I've been talking to my brother-in-law who is an independent Renault specialist in Aylesbury. He's offered to come over to Streatham to get the car, take back to Aylesbury and repair for me which is a tempting offer and I'm sure he'd get it fixed.
The problem is where do I stand regards the time the garage have spent on diagnostics and the unnecessary dephaser/timing belt and water pump replacement? I'm willing to be reasonable about work that may have needed doing possibly next year anyway but the dephaser was clearly not faulty so I don't want to be out of pocket on that. The garage haven't given me a price for the work yet - they've just said they want to get it fixed and will 'come to an arrangement' about the work they already did.
What can I do and what's a reasonable percentage to pay for the work already done?
I am no mechanic:
I see that the dephaser pulley is around £100 - £120. Taking it off again is surely not an option. 30,000 miles is early - but if you sell it then that will be something a buyer will be concerned about.
The garage that have the car has done nothing wrong and they can reasonably charge you for all the parts and materials and their labour. The new garage will inevitably suck air through their collective teeth and tell you that it is all wrong and charge you an arm/leg to put it right.
My opinion is that you have to see it trrough with the present lot. They are obviously embarrased at their failure (hence the loan car) and I doubt that they will make a profit on the job because they won't be able to charge you the full cost of their labour. I advise you to make the best of it - stay on good terms with them (ie - do not shout and get their backs up) and then ''come to an arrangement'' over the labour.
As for what is reasonable - I don't know but you don't know how many hours they have actually spent working on the car. (A lot of the time may bhave been waiting for parts). The important thing is to get a clear reciept for all the work done to add to your car's history, and some kind of warranty on the work (six months is usual).
This kind of problem is not limited to independant garages and I have personal experience of main dealers replacing part after part before they finally (and expensively) solve a problem.
In my experience it is always better to take the car direct to the main dealer for that make and model.
I would accept your brothers offer to come and collect it.
My argument would be that as they have not fixed the problem, you owe them nothing. Two weeks is far too long, and, to me, it seems they are guessing, and getting it wrong. I would be inclined to take up the offer of having it moved to the dealer.
You guys live in cloud cukoo land.
The garage won't give him the car until they get paid (they have the legal right).
Changing horses in midstream is never wise.
As I said - we have no idea hopw much of the two weeks was spent actually working on the car.
Leave it where it is.
NO do not leave it where it is. They do not know what they are doing.
Tell them not to do any more work on it. It needs to go to experts in that make and model..
They will be glad to see the back of it, trust me on this.
I am with Santa on this. They know they are not giving a good impression. Of course should they suggest you take it away that would be different. I have heard similar storeys about cars at the main dealers.
Quote........."The garage won't give him the car until they get paid (they have the legal right)."
That`s correct, at the very least they would want the money for the parts they got for it.
(My Dad bought his Armstrong Sidley that way, He saw it in the garage, and asked about it.
It seems the car owner refused to pay the large bill that ran up while they were trying to resolve a problem, so they kept it to cover their costs, the owner gave up his legal rights to it, and my Dad bought it)
A garage is not allowed to hold onto a customer's car untill they are paid. It is a common practice which they get away with. As long as the garage know you are removing it, you have a legal right to do so. It is your property. They can take you to Court for an unpaid bill.
A garage has a legal right, called a lien, to hold a vehicle until they are paid. It goes further than that - They can, after giving notice, dispose of said vehicle, deduct the bill and all their costs, and send a cheque for the balance. In practice they would write twice - First a threat like if you don't pay we may dispose of the vehicle, and then giving an ultimatum - like If you don't pay up in 30 days from the date of this letter, we will sell the car.
My sister, an accountant, acted as a receiver. She regularly had difficulty getting company vehicles back from garages as, naturally, they held them until they were paid rather than becoming unsecured creditors of a company in liquidation. The situation gets more complex if the vehicles are owned by a finance company - I believe in that case she left it to them to sort it out between them, since they were not an asset she didn't care.
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