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Car damaged at garage - what are my rights?


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Any advice would be greatly appreciated on how i should proceed with the following situation!

 

Today, I took my car to have 2 new tyres fitted at a garage (I had reserved the tyres yesterday, I was told there were two left). I have used the garage before, but not for my current car - it is not a big franchise but is also not a one-off backstreet mechanic either. The mechanic asked me to drive the car in, and guided me to drive onto the full car jack (I have done this before, but appreciate at most big garages they would do this for you).

 

Anyway, basically to cut the story short, on attempting to get up the ramp onto the jack, the ramp slipped and the car dropped onto the frame of the jack entirely pulling off the front bumper and driver headlight. They attempted to push the bumper back on, but the clip to one side is broken as was the bracket for the headlight (i.e. although not yet determined, probably going to need a new bumper and headlight circa £1,000+).

 

They didn't say anything regarding the damage, and to make matters worse didnt actually have the tyres! I had my young children with me at the time so was unable to hang about having an argument about it, so left (bumper taped on). I phoned my insurance company, and they said to speak to them first to ascertain their insurance and liability. The branch manager said he would need to speak to his supervisor/insurance to determine liability (basically didnt want to admit/say anything) and said he would phone back Monday (garages closed tomorrow).

 

So my problem is this - are they responsible for the repair of my vehicle? I know I was driving but surely being on their property and for their insurance I should not be doing so? (i.e. no proper training, health n safety etc)

 

Also, to add to the matter, the ramp that slipped was a wooden modified ramp that looked like they had constructed and not an actual part of the metal mechanic jack itself. Bsically, they deal a lot with bigger lorries/vans, and I guess for cars due to low bumpers the clearance for the frame is not sufficient and low cars especially may get stuck. So to circumvent this. they have used to wooden gentle sloping ramps that sit under the actual metal one to give clearance. It was actually this modifed ramp that slipped bacward, thereby dropping the car onto the frame. Is such equipment allowed, and do I have grounds for stating the equipment is not fir for purpose and they have been negligent?

 

They may cooperate and front the bill independent of insurance, but I was hoping for some advice on what ppl think my standing is, and how best to proceed. Any things I could accuse them of if they refuse liability would be useful. Note to add,, I dont have any photo evidence etc, it will be their word and mine, although its plain to see their jack cannot cope with low cars without the ramp even if they now hide the wooden ones!

 

Many thanks, look forward to some insight.

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Was the car positioned on the ramp correctly? Was it off to the side? Really the mechanic should have driven the car on there, but the mechanic can be to blame, as his job is to secure the car and ensure it is lifted correctly. Even if he didnt drive it on. If it wasnt on correctly, then he should have asked for the keys and maneuvered it until it was.

 

Lets see what the manager has to say tomorrow. They could accept liability from the start.

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it didnt actually make it onto the lift/platform. the ramps they have made to ensure clearance of the car over the frame of the platform were butted against the frame. it was these that slipped back thereby dropping the car onto the frame which was too high for my lower bumper. it then got caught and so pulled the bumper away. in my opinion the platforms obviously shouldnt be used as they arent an approved bit of kit. my only concern is i have no physical evidence, but hopefully they will be decent enough to take responsibility.

 

 

 

QUOTE=renegadeimp;4152929]Was the car positioned on the ramp correctly? Was it off to the side? Really the mechanic should have driven the car on there, but the mechanic can be to blame, as his job is to secure the car and ensure it is lifted correctly. Even if he didnt drive it on. If it wasnt on correctly, then he should have asked for the keys and maneuvered it until it was.

 

Lets see what the manager has to say tomorrow. They could accept liability from the start.

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basically it was a commercially made ramp with in-house modified parts added to it? I think that is one that might well be their undoing if they wish to argue it was your own fault. The second point is that were you instructed or asked to drive on to the ramp? If the latter were you told you would be guided on or just "helped"?

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I think the best thing to do is see what they say tomorrow and go from there. Atm its just guesswork.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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ericsbrother you are correct- commercial metal framed ramp, albeit probably too steep for most modern cars to get over with adequate clearance, hence the wooden ramp extensions to provide a more gentle slope. the chap just said drive it on in (i.e into the garage) and toward the ramp, where he stood at the opposite side guiding to ensure i was inline with the tracks and ramps for each tyre(which was fine). problem was there was insufficient torque to get up and on the ramp, and so i added a little more gas and that is when the car dropped- chap said the wooden ramp kicked back away from the frame and so dropping the car.

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At present, the garage are being unhelpful. The branch manager has said he is attempting to contact the MD to ascertain details of insurance/liabilities etc to see what is what, but he is has yet to be contactable - he said he would phone once he has spoken to him. This was yesterday morning. Not sure how to proceed, as Im sure if I phone again he will just say he hasn't come in!

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an Update:

 

Garage have not questioned liability, and said they have a bodyshop that they use, so could I take the car there to asses the damage. Happy to do this, but am also thinking I will take it to a dealer for their opinion - is this the advised strategy?

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Well don't expect the dealer quote to be anywhere near what the "local" bodyshop quotes. This doesn't mean the local garage is doing a botch job, it usually only demonstrates the rediculous prices dealers quote. Keep an open mind on what "his" garage says and make a judgement on that. I have had repairs done on cars by my local bodyshop that even I can't find afterwards when the dealer has been quoting for a new this and new that..

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If the bumper is undamaged then it is fine to reuse with new mounting clip, they are designed to be bashed about. the headlamp mounting wont be expensive so all in all a bill of under £200. i would be wary of anyone telling me that a new bumper is needed and costs your estimate- they cost a garage £100-260 for most makes of car. Resprays etc bump up the cost but most are body matching anyway

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