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Can we contest this bill?


Daft Bat
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Will try to be brief - but it's difficult!

 

Last Oct/Nov 07 my partner's Rover broke down. We spoke to a local mechanic who said that he thought it might be related to the EMU and as he did not have the equipment we should find a garage that did. As we are new to the area we checked the yellow pages and found one near to us. They said there was a break in a loom which they fixed within a couple of days and charged over £300 (paid cash)

 

The following day it broke down again, leaving my disabled partner stranded in a remote country lane in the pouring rain. He phoned the garage who came out and took the car back in again. They said that they thought it was an EMU problem and they would send it away for analysis which would cost about £50 and asked if that was ok, which my partner agreed to.

 

We continued to ring them regularly for updates as my partner relies on his car. They then said that the EMU was fine, but it was an oil sensor problem, they said the car was fixed, then they said they still had problems when testing the car. They discussed getting a new petrol pump which they said would cost a few hundred pounds, but my partner made it clear that it was not worth spending that sort of money as it's an old and somewhat battered car and he couldn't afford it on DLA, so they said they would find a second hand pump and keep the price down. When my partner said he was concerned about how much the work was going to cost he was told not to worry as they were not charging him for labour any more. As it had become an enigma to them too, they were working on it without charge between jobs. He said to just leave it with them and he would get back to us once he had any news.

 

Finally, just over a fortnight ago, I spoke to the mechanic who said he thought we'd given up on the car, but he had managed to get a scrap Rover and would swap bits between them until the problem was sorted. A couple of days later he rang to say it was now fixed, but needed taxing and as he couldn't find the MOT certificate and it was due in a couple of months, should he get it MOT'd? My partner agreed to him getting the new MOT so that we could tax it and get it back on the road. I asked him how much we owed him so that I could get him a cheque or cash but he said he hadn't done the bill and would let me know. To give some indication of what we were expecting, we had saved £200 in cash and thought that we might need to write a cheque for up to about a further £100.

 

He rang to confirm it only need a new number plate and had passed its MOT and again I asked him how much we owed him but he still didn't know and said he would call me back. I went through to the garage with a cheque for the tax so that the papers could be sent off and again asked him for his invoice, which again he could not give to me. I phoned him for the next 2 or 3 days and he was always "going to ring me back" with a figure, but never did.

 

Eventually, last night, he pushed a huge itemised invoice through our door for nearly £900. I've not been able to sleep since. The invoice includes 11 hours labour @ £38.50 but lots of things that we never asked for and things which are clearly grossly overpriced. For example New wiper blades @ £23.50 (we have a new pair at home waiting to be fitted), tax disc holder £4.99 (have lots of free ones from insurance companies & post office), second hand rotor arm £17.97 (aren't new ones cheaper than that?)

 

I know that we were naive for not getting a firm quote from him in the first place, but as he couldn't identify the problem, he couldn't quote. It was, however, always made clear that we didn't want to spend much as the car wasn't worth it. the total cost for this repair is now over £1200 (ok that does include the MOT), possibly as much as, or more than, the car is worth. I don't think I would have taxed it if I'd known as we can't afford to pay this bill anyway.

 

Is there anything we can do to contest this invoice? Do we have any options? Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Wheres the car now?, I would get the AA or RAC to check on the work claimed to have been carried out. more expense i know but you never can tell, this guy seems a bit of a cowboy :) "alledgedly"

PGH7447

 

 

Getting There Slowly

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Advice is given freely but is in no way meant to be taken as Gospel:-)

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rest my case, get the aa and/or rac to check the work, or if the car is less than the bill walk away and use the cash to buy another

PGH7447

 

 

Getting There Slowly

---------

 

Advice is given freely but is in no way meant to be taken as Gospel:-)

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Car probably worth about £1000, bill is £1200 (£900 o/s + £300 already paid) - We don't have £900 to either pay the balance of the bill or buy a new car. It just stinks that he gets £300 off us, + gets to keep our car (having got us to tax it first!) because he didn't repair it properly in the first place then breaks his word and comes up with an over-inflated bill.

 

4 years ago my partner was blind and in a wheelchair after suffering chemical poisoning. He is still very weak and his car is his lifeline for independence and mobility. He served ten years in the RAF and saw active service as a flight engineer, but we sold everything we had to get him the medical help he needed. We moved to the country so he could convalesce and just when he's starting to get about again this cowboy pulls the rug (and the car) out from under him.

 

Could do with the Equalizer round here!:Cry:

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Did you know you can get insurance from the AA which in addition to their normal roadside breakdown assistance covers the repairs for about £80/year for up to £500.

so if you breakdown they will either repair car or take to a reputable garage agree whats to be done and then pay for it. ( £25 excess per claim but unlimited claims in a year ) bit late now I know but worth considering for future peace of mind.

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Thanks for the dose of hindsight Ray! ;)

 

The thing I really need to find out is how do I argue that this bill is nonsense? Do I have to pay it then take him to court or refuse to pay it then let him take us to court or what? The bill lists lots of work that we never asked him to do and clearly was never necessary. I wonder if the work was done at all.

 

To give you an idea of what I mean, the car belonged to my partners father who passed away and it has really low mileage on it. It was an excellent runner (my OH eloquently said it went like sh1t off a shovel) but developed what appeared to be an electrical/fuel starvation problem. This bill includes "stripping engine down and replacing sticking valve" :confused: Fuel £45 (it had a full tank when it went in there - has somebody been using it as a spare runaround for the last 6 months?). Gallon of oil £42.99 :eek: (My OH is hot on maintenance and regularly does his own oil changes and checks the oil and water levels at least once a week). Removing petrol tank £78.45 - why? Then there's the wiper blades and tax disc holder as I mentioned before. The new number plate he charged £28.69 for - twice!

 

My suspicion is that having discovered it to be a nippy little motor with low mileage (even though it has plenty of dents and scratches!), he either fancies it for himself or thinks he could "iron out" the dents and make a few bob on it, hence he's made such a ridiculous bill expecting us to tell him to keep the car. We can't afford, nor do we want, to let this car go. I just need to know how I can get this car back and pay a fair price for any reasonable work. Any ideas?

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Sorry about that, but this can be useful for the future as well, as I have only just founf this out.

Anyway it does seem you are being ripped off, and as they have your car you have two choices now. Take him to court for the return of your car if he refuses to accept your offer to pay what you think is fair for the work done not pay for the unecessary work or pay and get the car back then take him to court for overcaherging? either way is uncertain that you would win, but a threat to do this and he may accept an offer lower than he wants.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are a couple of mechanics that frequent these forums, so perhaps if you post the details of the bill verbatim and the car year/model they may be able to shed some light on its validity.

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  • 3 weeks later...

being a mechanic and former garage owner, I do know that sometimes bills can mount up, but having said that if a bill was ever likely to approach vehicle value then the owner should be notified before the work is carried out!

it seems that although they stopped charging you for labour(as i have done in the past), they have stung you on other items.

£23.50 for wipers? top quality wipers normally sell for 5.99 fitted, costing the garage 1.50 each.

if you post a full list of the invoice I will check it against autodata and known retail prices of parts for you.

it would help if you mail me the full reg, or post the full car details.

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Have you in fact contested this bill with them direct. try talking to them and discuss the ciscumstances with them as you have done on here, you never know your luck.

Explain that you cannot afford to pay and discuss some sort of reduction so he gets some money and you get your car.

failing that take them to court but you will need an engineers report etc.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok -update (I'll post the full list of the invoice tomorrow) Sorry I didn't see your reply before.

 

We managed to get the cash together to pay the bill and were just going to write it off as a bad experience. My OH drove to Essex in it the first weekend we got it back and it was still coughing and spluttering similar to before. He told the guy at the garage who insisted it was fine as he'd done lots of test drives and said it might just be a bit of air or dirt working through the fuel line. He went down to Essex for a second time and broke down on the M25. He had to be recovered and pay another garage bill down there to fix it. The garage in Essex saw the bills that he'd already paid and said "This guy's taking you for a c*nt" (I believe that's a technical term ;)) Apparently the garage in Essex rang the one up here to ask exactly what work had been done and asked "has he really spent this much money on this car?" and the response came back that they had "been fiddling with it" for ages and he said that they were "in the business of taking anyones money off them". The fault with the car was with one of the items that he'd supposedly fixed and was proably the cause from day one.

 

Now we definitely need to get some sort of recompense off this bloke! Even if not for the original bill, there's the extra paid for the recovery and repair and the train ticket home and back again to pick the car up when it really was fixed. We've not spoken to him yet (my other half hasn't got to the stage of being able to mention it without clenching his teeth yet, so it's best to wait!) How should we go about it? I assume a letter in writing would be best for starters (avoids confrontation!). What are we entitled to claim from him and would a claim be under the SOGA or some other legislation?

 

Thanks in advance.

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I dont think SOGA is going to apply, the problem is confirming its the same problem thats supposed to have been rectified before?

As said before court is the only way to go if he refuses to cooperate and for that you will need an engineers report.

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Ask the garage that done the final repair and cured the problem for a detailed and itemised bill.

Then ask the 'bodge' garage for a detailed and itemised bill.

 

This is your first step to paying a fair price for a fair days work and reclaiming the difference.

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