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Refused to pay unexpectedly high car repair bill - garage trying to sue


gondukin
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Hi,

 

I would be grateful if anyone could give me advice on the situation I am in.

 

I took my car to a mechanic I have used previously a few weeks before my MOT was due as it needed new tyres and I wanted to know if it was worth doing or to just scrap the car. I asked the mechanic (who is an MOT tester) to look over the vehicle and advised him I was planning to scrap the vehicle if it would need much work doing to get through the MOT, as I couldn't afford to throw good money after bad (the year before I spent nearly £1,000 with him keeping the vehicle on the road).

 

The mechanic looked over the vehicle and told me it wouldn't cost much to get through (didn't say a price) and also he knew someone with 2nd hand tyres he may be able to get cheaply. Based on his advice I gave him the go-ahead to fit the tyres and also weld the exhaust.

 

Around three weeks later a front brake siezed on the vehicle, resulting in it needing new pads and discs. At the time he again assured me it was still worth getting the work done, so I authorised him to go ahead with this.

 

A couple of weeks after this a front brake hose ruptured. At the time of the initial inspection he had advised me new a new hose would be needed for the MOT (so would have been included in his initial 'costing'), as I needed the car back on the road I collected the brake hose and fitted it myself.

 

I then left the car with him for the MOT, this would be around 8 weeks after his initial assessment but the vehicle was off the road for the last 2 weeks as the MOT had expired and I was driving another vehicle. When I went to pick up the car, I was astonished to find a final invoice for £630 - significantly more than the value of the car. I removed all my possessions from the car and put in all spares/documentation I had (a new fuel filter, a new brake hose, old MOT certs, two worn spare tyres, the new keeper suppliment and the owner's manual). I wrote across the top of the invoice "I can't afford this, you'll have to take the car".

 

Around a month later, I recieved an updated bill through the post - the car had sold for £400 at auction, auction fees were £30 and he had added on £170 of expenses! These included new wiper blades, valeting and 'out of pocket expenses'. So he still wanted £425 off me.

 

I ignored the invoice to see if he would persue it, I have now had a letter from a solicitors saying I need to pay within 7 days or I will be taken to court.

 

At this point I assume I need to dispute the bill in writing and need to know the best course of action. I am planning first of all to ask for a breakdown of the labour costs (they are one lump on the bill), stating I dispute the charges but nothing else at this point, which is a reasonable request which should also buy me some time. Once this has come through I then planned to write a more detailed explanation of why I dispute the charges (see below), and if he launches court action I will counter claim for the scrap value of the vehicle.

 

The reasons I dispute the bill are:

 

  • The mechanic assured me it was worth getting the repairs done on the car, although no quote was agreed it would be reasonable to assume it wasn't worth paying 60% more than the value of the car once repaired
  • At no stage did he contact me to advise me the bill would be more than expected, accordingly I never authorised him to run up a bill that size, nor was able to cut my losses and tell him to stop work on the vehicle
  • He ran up costs of £200 selling a car for £400, much of the expense would seem to be unnecessary so he hasn't tried to mitigate his losses
  • If wasn't prepared to accept the car in exchange for the work, he should have notified me rather than sell it anyway
  • I have lost out to the tune of £50 - £70 (scrap value of the vehicle) based on his advice

Sorry this is so long winded, any advice would be gratefully accepted!

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Ok, for a start he can't claim new wiper blades or valeting ect if he sent it to auction. (Why would he do those things anyway?) Yes, he can claim auction fees/advertising ect but thats it.

 

Your defence will be as you have listed. I suggest that you write back to the solicitor stating that you dispute the amount being claimed. I am assuming that you havn't signed anything to authorise all this work. If you have you may have a slight problem although the court would expect the repairer to at least give you a ball park figure of the costs involved. A good solicitor will advise the repairer to drop any thought of taking you to court as the judge may well consider that there was a degree of irresponsibility on the repairer's part.

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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I would have dropped the mechanic like a hot potato after round one when he charged £1000 for a repair! Hopefully you are never going to use this swindler again. Had a similar experience which is why I am very cautious with mechanics.

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Thanks for the support and advice! I've drafted a letter stating I dispute the bill and requesting a breakdown of charges, supporting documentation for things like 'out of pocket expenses' and how/when he believes I authorised him to carry out the extent of work. We'll see where it goes from here. Cheers!

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I would assume if the car sold for £400 at auction it was worth around the value of the repairs as a private sale. If the mechanic when starting the job listed the work needed and estimated this to be around what he charged, then I do think you have a case that he should have contacted you to authorise the work first.

 

As Sailor Sam says he would be hard pressed to justify why he let the bill become so high knowing the value of the vehicle.

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