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Chobham Central Garage - Again!!

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Hi All


I wonder if you can give me some advice; this issue has been going on for quite some time but has been on the backburner due to Covid.


I bought a car for my son last July from this company. 

The advertisement on autotrader described it as having a two year warranty, excellent condition, full service history and the fact that the MOT also had no advisories was important as it meant that there was nothing immediate that should have to be done before the next MOT.  Of note we have no proof of any of the full-service history advertised, or the AA report (the one we were given was for another vehicle entirely). 


This report on the car could not be further from the truth and a total misrepresentation as the car had countless issues which have had to be rectified almost immediately after purchase to be roadworthy.


The first sign was car drinking coolant,

rev counter stopped working and

heater would not get warm. 


Long story short it was the worst case scenario - new head gasket for £1114.59! 

One of the tyres was bald and the other front had a slow puncture so 2 new tyres (no advisories on MOT). 

I am sure the tyre was not bald when I viewed the car. 


Exhaust suddenly seemed to be making a lot of noise; garage said the front end was broken and would need to be replaced (again no advisory on the MOT).

  Another £156.99 as this had to be done before the MOT was due in January 2020.


In the meantime I was emailing the garage and did not even receive the courtesy of a reply. 

I also left a message on their website requesting details of complaints procedure to which I received no response.   


 I believed that as the car had a two year warranty I would be covered if there were any problems,

however the warranty appears to be not worth the paper it is written on with endless exclusions and items not covered and to cap it all the details of the vehicle on the warranty were for a completely different vehicle!    I did not expect to be paying nearly £1500 to repair this vehicle within 3 months of purchasing it.


I eventually got a reply on 18 February 2020 from Mikael Shamir, after sending a letter before action by recorded delivery. 

He offered me £400 to "bring this matter to a conclusion as soon as possible", which I obviously refused but am quite surprised that he admitted liability and that they had sold me a heap of junk! 


I really do not want them to get away with this and have been looking at small claims but am concerned that even if we did win our case they would still not pay the claim. 


Please see his reply below and his statement that there are no assets in the company even though they are advertising all these high end cars on their website!




Thank you for sending these through.

In an effort to bring this matter to a conclusion as soon as possible, we have one preferences that we hope we can both find acceptable and can form a basis of either further negotiation or completion.

.Preference. Pay £400.I can sort this out ASAP and email the agreement by tomorrow.

If this can be agreed upon then there will be no further reason to escalate your complaint.


If you disagree and continue with your claim, we must put you on notice that any judgement awarded in the small claims court cannot be enforced because there are no assets in the company. Of course, we will produce all relevant documentation to the High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs). 


We are conscious that any escalation action you take is time consuming and may not be determined for many months, at least six months for the date of your claim.

 It is worth remembering that there is nothing to prevent buyer and seller agreeing on a remedy that is agreeable to both parties, even if all the standard processes of the CRA have not been followed.



I appreciate any help or advice, thank you

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I'm afraid that you have fallen prey to one of the more unscrupulous motor car dealers. Your story of poor quality second-hand vehicles is nothing new. We receive lots of complaints about this company.

What is interesting is that they are so brazen about the possibility of legal action being taken against them – and of course they are right. You can take a legal action against them and the problem as always is one of enforcement and if they have manipulated their legal identity et cetera in such a way that the enforcement agents/bailiffs/HCEO arrive at their premises only to be told that they have no assets and the fact that all the vehicles sitting they belong to someone else – some other company, then you may find that the judgement which you will easily get in court, will amount to nothing.

I'm really not too sure what to do. It's a pity that it has gone on so long and you might have stood a better chance if you had attempted to return the car immediately under the consumer rights act.

This is a company which I'm sure has often been reported to citizens advice – but of course citizens advice do very little other than put it onto database which then tends to be ignored by trading standards. I'm afraid all you can really do is join the others in reporting them to citizens advice, making sure that there are reviews about them all over the Internet, report them to the AA or RAC if those bodies have some kind of way of gathering these reports together.

You should report them to auto Trader.

If you want to take legal action against them then of course we will help you. Your chances of getting a judgement pretty well guaranteed but it won't be quick – and I'm afraid that the chances of getting any money back  - probably going to be fairly remote.

It must be very disappointing when clearly you have gone to some trouble to buy a gift for your son but I'm afraid that you are yet another victim of this unscrupulous company.


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Thank you very much for your response; I'm sorry to say that I thought that would probably be the case.  Unfortunately my son didn't tell me immediately that there was a problem with the car; it was only when I saw him ordering coolant in bulk that he admitted that there was an issue and by that time the month for sending it back had gone.  I don't think he wanted to appear ungrateful that I had bought him a heap of junk! Caveat emptor!  Stupidly I thought that the warranty would be with the garage and I could just go and take it back if I had a problem so I was too blase about the whole thing.  Comes to mind the old adage "buy in haste, repent at leisure".  Another deciding factor was that they were part of the Motor Ombudsman, which of course they weren't even though they were advertising it on all their documentation and paperwork.  I reported them to the MO who quite frankly were worse than useless and didn't seem to care at all.  I also contacted Citizens Advice and Trading Standards but they weren't much help either I'm afraid.


This whole situation put me under extreme pressure before; if it is a case of perhaps winning the case but still ending up with nothing I really don't know whether it's worth the stress, even thought it goes against everything I believe in to let this pond life get away with it again.  Is it worth spending money taking them to Court if we still end up with nothing at the end?


It never ceases to amaze me that these people can just get away with going bankrupt, shutting down companies, hide their assets, etc, only to restart under a different name.   Why is there no law against this when these people are blatantly ripping consumers off?


You said to get on to Autotrader; what will they do?


Thanks again for your help



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I'm afraid that companies like this run by people like back can get away with what they want nowadays. Joe Public seems to think that there are organisations in place which exist to protect them from these kinds of scammers – and of course it's not an unreasonable thing to think. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way. Public resources are under resourced. Action fraud is rubbish. Trading standards produce to be very good and are not accessible. Citizens advice are well-intentioned but there's nothing much more you can say about them.

The County Court system is excellent – but I'm afraid that it comes down to the question of enforcement and if the company simply decides to reinvent itself all the time then it is very difficult to nail down.

As far as we can make out this company has lots of victims and presumably they will just carry on. I'm very sorry.

One thing you should realise is that warranties and extended warranties are a load of rubbish and are simply a way of distracting attention from your real rights which are your statutory rights. You don't need extended warranties. You simply need to understand what your rights are.

It won't come as any great consolation I suppose but even if you had reacted within the first 30 days and tried to return the car you may still have drawn a blank with this company. They seem to be past masters at avoiding their responsibilities.

I don't know what to say about buying a second-hand car. If you buy cheap car – then you are certainly entering into a risk which you probably don't deserve. Of course auto trader should not be carrying these kinds of advertisements and maybe you should contact them as well. However they probably don't care either.

I'm afraid one of the few people who care are us – and I'm afraid that there is very little we can do. The people who can do something for you – don't really care.

You need somebody with the same kind of aggressive and assertive attitude as us – but with more influence and clout – and afraid that that is something that we are not able to offer

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