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raccoonboy

Garage gave me faulty engine

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Hey guys, hoping you can give me some advice. Here's my story:

 

Engine in my car was accidentally destroyed in December last year. I found a garage who offered to fit a second hand engine for £1000, which they did. I got a receipt from them stating new engine, new head gaskets, no warranty.

 

Now within a week of picking up the car, I started noticing symptoms of leaking head gaskets (tho I didn't know at the time that's what it was). Stuttering at ignition, bubbles coming out the coolant etc. Eventually, about 3 or 4 weeks later, the car broke down completely and I had to get the AA to come and tow it for me.

 

Now at this point I contacted the garage who had done the work, and they said it sounded like a sensor problem, which wasn't their fault since the sensors were the sensors from my old engine. They offered to fix it, but I'd have to pay. I said ok, come and pick up my car for me. Long story short, a month went by and they kept saying they were too busy to come and collect it (this is called fobbing off in my opinion.)

 

Eventually, I got p*ssed off and got the car towed (at my expense) to a different garage. Expecting them to simply change a sensor or sort some other minor fault, I was amazed to hear that the car had leaking head gaskets!

 

I got in touch with the garage who had done the initial work, and told them they had basically provided me with a faulty engine. They are arguing of course, saying that I should have got it to them sooner (I had tried for a month to get them to pick it up!) and they are also arguing that they have no obligation to help since there's no warranty.

 

So basically, I paid £1000 for a replacement engine and new head gaskets, but got a replacement engine with leaking head gaskets.

 

I'm taking them to a small claims court to get my money back, or get them to repair it for free. I have all the emails they sent me fobbing me off, and I can get confirmation from a different garage that the head gaskets are leaking. Obviously the AA can confirm the car broke down shortly after my picking it up from the garage aswell, plus I have witnesses as to the situation as it progressed. Do I have a decent case here?

 

Thanks for your help.

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wow, sorry to hear of this, I hope others who can help give an answer, I did know someone who had a very similar issue with being sold a car that broke down within weeks, they took it back and got money back or offer of repair, I think you should stick to your guns, how about trading standards also?


'rise like lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number, shake your chains to the earth like dew, which in sleep had fall'n on you, ye are many, they are few.' Percy Byshse Shelly 1819

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Courts are very much on the side of the consumer, more so in car related problems than with other goods and services.

 

Chronicle every thing that has happened with dates and times, invoices and other paperwork.

 

Send a copy of this to the garage and give him 7 days to come up with a resolution. Mention that failure of a sataisfactory response by 7 days will result in summons being issued without further notice.

Edited by Conniff

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OK, will do. I've already spoken to them via email and discussed the timeline of events, their response was that they have nothing to do with it because they stated there was no warranty, but that they'll repair it for half price as a 'goodwill gesture' (yeh right). That would still cost me upwards of £500, add to that the fact that I've been without the car for almost this whole year so far because of this crap and it's just a bit unacceptable isn't it?

 

I've never been through a claims procedure before so if there's anything I should know to avoid making any stupid mistakes, I'd appreciate the advice.

 

What should I claim, should I try to get back the initial £1000 or what?

 

Thanks for your help.

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Ok. Questions:

 

Who supplied that actual engine, them or you?

Did they state that the engine would be good or broken?

How did you pay them (PLEASE tell me it isn't cash)?

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They supplied the engine. They also fitted new head gaskets, this is on the receipt. Obviously the agreement was that the engine would be a good, working engine, tho it doesn't say that on the receipt (it's a given). I do have the initial email conversations which are evidence to the effect that I would be paying them for a working engine.

 

I paid by bank transfer.

 

Thanks.

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Ok. The bad part is paying by bank transfer,. which is in effect cash.

 

However, you have been conned. This is bordeline deception/fraud and I think you need to hinge around that thought.

 

The garage has sold you an engine and claim to have fitted new head gaskets. Clearly from what you say they did not fit new head gaskets, so they have lied. It is a criminal offence to make a false statement in realtion to a business and the maximum penalty if convicted of doing so is £5000 fine and/or 6 months in prison. So, we are not talking a slap on the wrist here.

 

This garage told you that bubbles coming out of the radiator tank was a possible sensor problem? Sensors do not create bubbles. They sound like cowboys and they think they have had you.

 

First port of call is trading standards without question.

 

They tried to hinge on the 'no warranty' part, but this falls under the sale of goods act and the goods in this case is a replacement engine which they claim to have effectively ovehauled. You have the right to expect a reasonable quality and a reasonable life from this engine. Depending on the type of car you have that will vary, but I would say at least a few years!

 

The goods you have been sold are not fit for the purpose purchased, ie a good replacement engine. The fact they lied to you about the head gaskets makes this a criminal matter and trading standards are the people you need in on this.

 

Talk to TS first to see what they say before contacting the garage again. When you do contact the garage do so only in writing and only by recorded delivery so you have proof you sent the letters. Keep a copy of everything, especialy those e-mails.

 

It will help me understand better if I know what kind of car and espcecially what engine you have. You says head gaskets rather than gsaket, so I presume it has more than one head, which makes it a V6, v8 or V12.

 

Why did they offer no warranty? Were you told this BEFORE you bought it? I have done several engine changes over the years and the very minimum anyone expects from an engine change is 12 months or 12,000 miles.

 

This stinks and gets everyone in the car industry a bad name., There are lots of garages like this, but fortunately there are lots more who are not like that.

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The car is a Subaru; the engine is an EJ25. Whether they put new head gaskets on or not I don't know; I'm assuming they did, but just did a poor job so they leaked.

 

I'll give you a bit more detail: Shortly after picking the car up (within a fortnight) I started noticing bubbling noises behind the dash. I do know that Subarus tend to suffer from air in the heater matrix, so I didn't think much of this. However it also was playing up at ignition, with engine hesitation. When this eventually got so bad that the car didn't start and I had to call the AA (this was a month after collecting the car), I got in touch with the garage who told me that it was probably a sensor problem. Basically, instead of saying 'ok, we recently fitted the engine, bring it back to us and we'll fix it' they said 'can't be anything we've done, must be something else that isn't anything to do with the work we did on it, we can fix it but you'll have to pay for it' which for a start is pretty poor service.

 

It wasn't until about another month later that I got sick of waiting for them to tow my car (at my expense) that I decided they were a bit dodgy, so I took the car to a different garage, who diagnosed leaking gaskets.

 

I'd rather just get my money back than have to deal with them again, is this what I should persue in court?

 

Thanks again for your help.

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By the way, there was no talk of a warranty until I got the receipt on picking the car up.

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Warranty means nothing. Just go for getting a refund. The courts are on the side of the customer a lot more than they are the dealers.

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Ok so I've been through the system, getting in touch with Trading Standards etc. Have sent the garage a letter informing of my intended court action, to which they have replied they intend to defend my claim. Additionally, they said that they will pursue their costs in making their defence. Can they do this? If they were to win the claim, would I have to pay their fees? How does that work?

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You must have heard the expression "The best form of defence is attack", well -

Can they do this?
- it's working in this case, they have you worried.

 

Do you have paperwork saying 'new head gasket' etc; or was that all verbal?

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I've got the receipt detailing everything they replaced. I have a document from the AA that I got when I had to call them out the next month. I have the majority of the emails between the garage and myself, particularly the ones where I had tried to get them to collect the car over the course of several weeks.

 

One of their arguments is that I didn't return the car to them straight away, but continued to drive it for months which furthered the damage. Actually, I tried to get them to come and tow it while it sat not being used for months, as it wouldn't start.

 

I'm definitely taking this to the courts, I just wanted to know what to expect if they won their defence.

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Get a quote from another garage.

 

Time to send them a recorded delivery letter with a demand that they put all the fault right at their expense and give them 7 days to collect it. At the end of 7 days if the car hasn't been collected or they fail to respond to your letter or insist they wont take it for repair, send them another with the quote (don't enclose the quote) giving them another 7 days to collect and then you will take the car in for repairs and start court proceedings to recover the cost.

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Ok so this is going to court. The car is still out of action and I'm probably scrapping it. I just want my money back for the initial work.

 

What's it like in a court for a small claim like this? Is it informal etc, how many people are likely to be present?

Also, can I take signed statements from witnesses to help my case? Such as a letter from a friend or family member confirming my story to be true?

 

Thanks.

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Yes - if you lose you pay theiur costs, that's the way it works. The engine will not have been 'new' it will have been trade sourced - probably from a scrap merchant, known and trusted by the garage. The arrangement is invariably if an engine is a dud, they'll do a free exchange for another within 7 days of fitting. after that - you're on your own.

 

Replacement engines are seldom warrantied other than I previously described, but the usual issue is it isn;t the cost of the engine, butr the man hours of removing the old and replacing it, based on the number of hours this will take. Your redress remains with the original garage to fix, as attempting to get the work done elsewhere and billing them for it may still disadvantage you.

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Hi sorry to interupt but did TS not reccommend an independent engineer inspection? Normally they have ones that they can reccommend and it would carry more weight in court as opposed to friends and family

However you would have to pay for the inspection and report but given the amount of time that has passed I suspect it may prove difficult for an engineer to give an accurate assessment.

 

hope this helps Tigger

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Well when I gave up on the garage that did the work due to them fobbing me off, I took it to another garage in May who diagnosed the leaking gaskets. So if they can give me some sort of confirmation of their inspection that'll be good enough right?

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Not neccesarily - as this still leaves room for the original garage to dispute the findings and the dispute rumbles on. If THEY remain in control, it makes it difficult for them to blame anyone else, which I can almost guarantee will happen here!

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So what you're saying is that it's literally that easy for a garage to supply and fit a duff engine and get away with it?

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Not at all. You are saying that.

 

I'm saying that in the case of any complaint, it is the original garage that the complaint must be resolved with (and in a timely manner). If the CH Gasket was wrong due to an error in the rebuild or install, that is their problem and they must have the first opportunity to rectify the problem. If they do not, then you go elsewhere, get it done and bill them for the cost of rectification. Your justifiction for doing this is their refusal to do it - in this case a court would be on your side, not that of the original garage.

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I've given them an opportunity to rectify the problem and as described, they fobbed me off initially then offered to fix it half price. Not good enough, that's why I raised the issue with the court. I can't afford to go and get this fixed at another garage then bill them (and risk not even getting that money back) so I'm taking them to court for a refund of what I paid.

 

So instead of having a receipt from another garage for gasket replacement, I'd have a damage assesment and a quote for the repair. In your previous post you imply that this wouldn't be enough, that the original garage could dispute it etc....?

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They could dispute the gasket replacement if they maintain they were not given an opportunity to fix the problem (which isa what you need to be careful about). Providing the waters aren't muddied by other third parties, you should be OK!

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So where do I stand considering the fact that I repeatedly requested that they tow the car, but they kept saying 'this week' 'next week' 'in a few days' etc. for several months?

 

Basically I got sick of their crap and had no choice but to go elsewhere.

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Unless you paid them for vehicle recovery, you have NO RIGHT to get them to collect the car from you - the onus is on you to get it to them at your expense, and them to fix it in a timely manner.

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