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Where do I legally stand - Car Repairs

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Long time lurker here. I own a BMW 1 series - 2007 model.


Hello All,


I've got a question with regards to my car and its repairs. Basically, what happened earlier this week was I drove my car to the mechanics for him to run a full diagnostics and see whether there were any problems as the yellow light on the dashboard came on, immediately I drove it to the garage to solve the problem.


The mechanic ran a full diagnostics on the car and said my chain is showing signs of wear and tear which will need to be replaced. He also mentioned that I would need an exhaust vanos solenoid (which I purchased the part from a BMW dealership on my own accord). The mechanic said to me that the job will cost £900, I mentioned to him thats out of my price range and I said to him that I will take my car back home as I'm not willing to pay that. He then thought I would take it to someone else and quoted me £650 to complete the full job to change the chain, we both agreed and he started work on the car.


The next day, which was a Tuesday. I came out of work early to check on the status of the job and the mechanic just assured me that the job will be done soon and to be patient, they took the car apart and he said once they're done they'll put everything back together and he will call me, it could be later this evening. I called him up on Wednesday and he just said the same thing.


On Thursday, three days later to when I took it to him. I came into the garage and sat down waiting there for a few hours with no word on my car, I noticed everything was put together inside the bonnet and the owner of the garage mentioned to me, the car was starting 30 mins before you came but now its not starting so we'll check if its a problem with the battery. I had my suspicions that something was up and they were aware of it as I was sitting there for a long time but they did not want to tell me.


Just before closing time on the same day, they tried to start the vehicle to no avail. The owner of the place started mentioning to the mechanic, are you sure you put everything back together properly. Naturally, the mechanic was there defending himself. The owner of the garage then said to me, sorry mate your engine has gone, I was stood there in complete shock especially since I came into the garage with it working fine. I was really annoyed and mentioned to him what would he do about it, he backtracked a bit as he noticed I overheard his conversation where he was saying his mechanic didn't put it back together properly and he goes we're not 100% it was his fault and as its late we'll double check tomorrow.


I went back to the garage yesterday and he changed his tune completely. Straight away I got the impression, he was trying to cover his tracks and he goes I've got bad news for you, you'll have to pay £1400 to fix this job. He tried to get technical and confuse me but in turn he was actually confusing himself as he seems a very bad liar. I told him I refuse to pay the £1400 and I'll only pay the £650 in which I agreed. After he disagree and told me to look for a part on Ebay so he could do the job for £1400. I said that is not my job.


Before I left, I asked him one question in which he dodged by changing the conversation, I said - I drove into the garage and the engine was working fine, if there was a problem with the engine before I came to the garage when you ran the full diagnostics at the beginning wouldn't that have picked it up? He just left me and went to serve another customer, totally ignoring me which made me feel so small.


I've been so worried at how the whole situation has occurred, one issue has become a much bigger problem. Has anyone faced this problem and could you please provide your advice even if you haven't, I would really appreciate it.

Sorry for the long post, I just feel hard done by.


Many Thanks



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First off, pay whatever the bill is by credit card. If you don't have one, then ask a friend or relative and give them the cash.


When you say it don't start, is the engine turning over when the key is turned or not ??

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Conniff, thank you for the reply.


I'm not clued up about cars. But basically from what I saw, when they turned the ignition there seem to be a noise from the ignition but there is not a noise coming from the engine which is strange. He tried to use some starter fluid which didn't work.


As I have not given him any money as of yet, do you think its a wise idea to pay him the money when the job he has quoted for £1400, he has not started yet?


Also, I had a telephone conversation with a family friend who works as a mechanic today but lives quite far from us. He advised me not to take the car out of the garage until everything is sorted out, as the owner of the garage is currently liable for any damages in which he's caused to the vehicle.

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They might have got the timing wrong , if it's out by a little car will not start. As air/fuelling out of synch.

What size/type of engine is it, timing chains usually last the life of the engine if regular oil changes done.

Googling there are issues wil premature failures due to insuffient oil service intervals

The east start they tried to start it with if to get a higher compression ratio to start the engine.

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Is £1,400 reasonable, I couldn't possibly say unless you could tell us exactly what was wrong. You should be given a quotation, or at minimum, an estimate listing the part required and the labour costs. But if they have made a cock up changing the cam chain then it could mean a rebuilt or replacement engine. and this would be at their cost.


You must be given the real reason there is a starting problem and by what they have said and the way you have been cheated, I don't think I would rely on them to give you the full story.


Can you not get your mechanic friend to come pay you a visit ?

Invite him and his family for the weekend and he can go with you to take a look and offer some on the spot advice and maybe diagnosis.

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They might have got the timing wrong , if it's out by a little car will not start. As air/fuelling out of synch.


If that is the reason then they are amateurs, for a professional, it's virtually impossible to get the timing wrong.

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No, it must follow that the person whose card it is, is the buyer and any problems, it is he who would make the claim.


You can link this with the likes of Christmas and birthday presents bought by someone with a card and given away, it is the person who owns the card that would have to make the claim.

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Conniff, when I was reading through everything about section 75 recently I remembered seeing the cardholder only type argument, below is an extract and then the a web link to Financial Ombudsman regarding card holder's and section 75


Chain of purchase


As our full guide notes for section 75 to apply, there has to be a strong 'chain' between the person who makes a purchase, the lender and the supplier.


In the above example, the chain was broken because the borrower and buyer turned out to be different people.


Or, to put it semi pictorially, this is the chain needed for a successful claim:


Customer/cardholder >> lender >> shop


An additional cardholder, adds another link to that chain, breaking it:


Cardholder >> customer >> lender >> shop


This is also true, for example, of purchases made on a credit card but processed by a third party like Paypal.


Just as with an additional cardholder, in that case the main cardholder has agreed for another entity with different interests to get involved in the borrowing transaction.


The card provider hasn't agreed to lend to Paypal and they haven't agreed to lend to an additional cardholder on your account.





I'm not trying to irritate you or question your long standing information which I myself have found very useful, just wanted to share the knowledge I have

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When faced with the phrase 'sorry mate your engine, clutch, prop shaft, widget, whatever, has gone, you should ask...................... Well, where was it the last time you saw it?



46 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

HMCTS Approved Technical Expert and Independent Motor Trade Consultant

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