Car has been 12 Weeks in Garage! Need Advise / My legal position clarifying
Sorry in advance if I am posting this in the wrong forum (Car is broken down though )
I also apologize for the length of this post, but I feel like I should explain the full story, so the best advice can be given
My car is a: 2.0 Ford Focus TDCI Titanium (05 Plate)
17 months ago I had an oil leak and as a result the con-rod broke through the engine and wrote it off.
After getting several quotes, I had the car sent to a garage about 40 minutes away from me, to have the engine & turbo replaced for £2545 (This included a 24 month parts & labour warranty)
It broke down twice in the first year, both times i had to pay £70 to have the car towed to the garage.
The first time a valve was changed and the car ran again.
The second time they had my car for 4 weeks, and returned it still not running properly and with 400 miles added to the clock (which they said was test millage) - They said that most of the time, the car had been with a 3rd party electrician, as the fault was electrical (they also claim it was him that did the 400 miles of 'test driving')
I took the car to a friend who is a mechanic and he found very quickly that one of the tubes that was fitted between the engine and turbo - which should have a fabricated bend, was in fact a sawn down piece of straight tube that they had bent into position, and had kinked, split and leaked oil over the engine/ starved the turbo of oil.
The car ran well after he fixed this problem for about 8 months, but then when I started the engine up one morning, a large amount of white smoke came out of the exhaust.
After this initial cloud of smoke the engine seemed to be running normally again, so i started to drive the car back to my friends garage so that he could check it over - before it was sent back to the garage who'd replaced the engine for repairs.
But after about 10 minutes, the car lost power and the engine died (showing 'Engine Systems Failure' on the dash)
So I called the RAC who came out and towed me home, after explaining that they couldn't restart the engine as it had low compression.
The car was then towed to the original Garage again (Costing another £70).
It has now been 12 weeks since the car was sent to them.
I have called at least 3 times every week since, although it is very often impossible to get through to anyone.
For the first 4 weeks, they told me that they had stripped the engine back and found that injector seals (among other things) had started leaking / were broken, and that they were in the process of claiming these parts back off of their suppliers.
Since then the story has been that the car has been constantly going back to the electricians as it is 'over fuelling' and he can't seem to sort it out properly.
Every week since week 4 they have told me that it would 100% be ready by that weekend, or at the very latest the following Monday, but then fail to get in touch with me, or answer their phones until midway through the next week. (and tell me the same thing again)
I have as a result paid for 3 months Insurance / Tax / M.O.T - when I have had absolutely no use of the car.
-- Sorry again for the length of that post!!
I am unable to get to this garage in person as I work 5/6 days a week and don't have a car to drive the 40-45 minute journey to get there! I am also seriously concerned that when I finally do get the car back, it still wont be properly repaired.
I would like to know what my legal position against this garage is;
Can I take the garage to court for any of the following;
The fact that they have now had my car for a total of 17 weeks worth of my warranty period for repair work.
That this has cost me 17 weeks worth of Insurance /M.O.T/ Tax.
They seemingly supplied me with an engine that was not fit for purpose.
Or that their workmanship has been awful (twice misdiagnosed faults / Wrongly routed wiring harness, which had to be replaced after 2 wires snapped / Using incorrect pipe between turbo & engine / adding 400 Miles to the car).
I also need to know if I get the car towed away from them to another garage and that garage fixes the problem, can I then claim that labour / parts cost against my warranty with the original garage?
Thanks very much if you have managed to stick with the post all the way to the end!
And thanks in advance for any replies.
They seem to have had ample opportunity to repair the car, and have failed to do so. You are now entitled to remove the car to another garage, have them fix it, and chase the original garage for the costs of repairs. Although you may well have to take them to a Small Claims Court to get reimbursement.
I would suggest that you need to crack the whip a little here. I know that it would not be cheap, but it might be, that a letter from a solicitor threatening some kind of court action, might put the proverbial rocket where it would do the most good.
Welcome to the site Matthew91, I hope you have kept copies of all correspondence between you and the garage, along with a record of all phone calls, as this will be important if you do end up having to go down the Legal road.
I hope things work out OK for you in the end, as they have been mucking you around for long enough.
Hi Santa, those were my thoughts exactly, I just don't know exactly what I should be asking for from them... Can I claim for any or all of the following?
Originally Posted by Santa
costs incurred from ; wasted insurance/ M.O.T / Tax.
The inconveniences of not having a car + the train/ taxi fees this has caused me to have to pay.
The engine itself (as it seems to be unfit for purpose)
I just don't know how far to go with it, or which things they can actually be held responsible for :S
Thanks smudger - unfortunately there isn't a whole lot of correspondence between us... I have written 2 letters and sent 3 e-mails, but non have been replied to or even formally acknowledged!
Originally Posted by smudger
The only real contact I ever manage is on the phone. The calls are all logged and I do have a print out of all the calls, which do show a massive number of unanswered calls from me too them (not one of which was ever returned! :@) but non of the phone conversations have been recorded.
I also have 3 notes from the R.A.C for each time they recovered the vehicle.
Does this make my position a lot weaker? It seems unfair that if the garage never answer letters or emails, that they could then claim that I don't have any correspondence to prove my case!
I strongly advise you to now contact a Solicitor. You should be able to find one to give you a half hour or so free advice.
As to correspondence with the garage, the copies of your letters and emails, as well as phone bills proving your contact with them should suffice. Take copies with you to the solicitor. If you have any difficulties finding a solicitor, CAB should be able to help you there.
As I said earlier - this does not seem to be the kind of case that can be resolved without legal assistance. You could go the Trading Standards route but that will take time and may not resolve anything.
Many solicitors offer a free half hour - worth a look.
Another thought - I would be able to claim for legal advice on my home insurance policy... maybe you could too.
In the absence of written evidence - I would write down, to the best of my ability, the content and dates of the phone calls, and who you spoke to. The more factual these things look the better. They won't have any records to contradict you anyway, so good guesses will do.
Last edited by Santa; 20-06-13 at 12:45.
Sorry - I double posted this and don't know how to delete this post
Last edited by matthew91; 20-06-13 at 00:39.
Personally, I would not expect to gain anything for lost cash through wasted insurance etc, but I did once get £50 a week for being deprived of the pleasure of driving my own vehicle after a collision claim. I see no harm in claiming for it, but I wouldn't hold your breath.