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My daughter, who is studying to become a primary school teacher, required a MOT for her Fiat 500. She booked it in at the garage which has carried out previous service/MOT/repairs. They have been very fair and helpful up to this point.

 

The car passed the MOT with an advisory to replace brake pads and shoes in the not too distant future (but not a fail and not an urgent requirement). While getting MOT daughter was encouraged to have a full diagnostic check on car. In their own words "it will tell you everything wrong with the car, even the radio" . She went with the diagnostic check and it came back as requiring a new throttle, as the engine had 'lag' or a loss of power while travelling at speed. There was also a small leak on exhaust seal.

 

The garage informed her that whilst neither was urgent and would not get worse, the throttle issue would continue to irritate until fixed. Reluctantly she took their advice and paid £216 (including £49 for diagnostic check). She really couldn't afford it, as she is a student but also needs her car to get to and from the school she is studying at. She picked car up on Tuesday evening after school and travelled home on slow local roads. When travelling to school on Wednesday morning, via dual carriageway, she noticed that the same loss of power issue was still present.

 

On driving home, luckily at a slowish speed, her brakes failed completely and she failed to stop at a junction and travelled straight through with barely any reduction in speed, with her brake pedal flat to the floor. 

She dropped her car off at garage again on way to school on the Thursday morning. On Thursday evening, she rang me in tears. The garage wanted £400 for replacement of brake pads and shoes and also replacement of coils and plugs to fix 'lag' in engine. She explained that she had had diagnostic check on Tuesday and had already paid to repair 'lag' issue but it hadn't solved problem. Now they want more money to fix the same issue. They said that they were different issues and that the coil and plugs would not have been picked up on diagnostic check. She feels as if they have 'tried it on' because they could tell she knows nothing about cars (me neither).

 

My issue is two-fold. I too think that they have charged her twice to fix the same problem. We have no idea if throttle replacement was required. It certainly didn't solve problem highlighted on diagnostic check. Secondly and more importantly, they passed her MOT with brakes that were clearly shot. This could have resulted in more damage to both car and my daughter. They refused to release car without payment and members of staff ridiculed her for getting upset as they left workshop. 

 

Car anyone give us any advice regarding whole situation and possible recompense please?

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Well it is certainly a bit convoluted and it will be difficult to tease out exactly what has happened.

However you have two problems here. The first problem is that you need to get the car back because presumably the car is needed by your daughter and not only that I can imagine that if it is not sorted out quickly, that the garage will start to add storage costs which may or may not be enforceable but which will complicate the issue and make the whole thing more expensive.

The second issue is the much more legal issue of the money which has been spent and what it has been spent on and the failure of any repairs. This is altogether more corrugated.

My advice to you would be to minimise the problems and that is to get the car out of there and then we can examine what has been paid and what shouldn't have been paid with a view to claiming as much as possible back from the garage – probably by means of a legal action.

Another advantage of getting the car out is that you will be able to get independent inspections of it and the work which may have been done and its condition generally. While the car is with the garage, you have no access to it and nor will any independent inspectors.

If you feel that you would rather reserve your position and deal with the whole thing at one time then I can tell you that it's going to be a long slog and I can imagine it would be at least two or three months and maybe more before a court action moves to a judgement which would then allow you to recover the car. Furthermore, there could be a slight risk that you would lose the court action in which case you would still have to recover the car and be faced with storage charges which I'm quite sure the garage would want to add simply in retaliation if nothing else.

 

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Incidentally, has the work on the replacement brakes been carried out? You want to get hold of all the old part so you can have them inspected. I can imagine that if the work is already being carried out then those parts will probably have been disposed of – for whatever reason. If the work hasn't been done then you certainly want to require that the parts are kept.

Incidentally, you need to do all of your communication with this garage in writing or if you do it on the phone then make sure that you have read our customer services guide and you have implemented the advice there. It is essential that you start keeping a close detailed record of everything that happens and all of your exchanges

 

Just to add to this, if the work is not being carried out then how much does the garage want so far simply to allow you to take the car away?

I would be really tempted to get the car out of there and then have it done by an independent garage we could give you a complete assessment of the condition of everything and also carry out the repairs.

Then you would be in an excellent position to attack the first garage for the recovery of unnecessary expenses.

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Thanks for your reply. We have the car (daughter paid on card as she was upset and intimidated) and all repair had been done. No opportunity was given to seek second opinion or even to accept cost of coil and plugs. Usually they would ring to get permission to go ahead with repair. This time they had carried out brake repair (agreed) and replaced (?) coil and plugs and refused to return car unless money was paid. Daughter was alone in dark at garage on industrial estate, having been dropped off by grandfather 

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Are you saying that the repairs were carried out without any authorisation?

How long ago were they carried out?

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Brakes were obviously authorized but not other work. My problem with brakes was that they were so bad that they completely failed and yet the day before they were deemed good enough to pass MOT with just an advisory. Very dangerous and potentially more costly 

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Contact them immediately and confirm by email that you want all of the brake parts retained. Of course they will say that they are no longer there – but anyway contact them on the telephone and then send them an email and refer specifically to the telephone call in which you asked them to retain the parts.

Tell them that you will be along to collect the parts this afternoon.

Get ready for them to say that they have already been thrown away – but at least get it on record.

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6 minutes ago, Knocky1892 said:

Brakes were obviously authorized but not other work. My problem with brakes was that they were so bad that they completely failed and yet the day before they were deemed good enough to pass MOT with just an advisory. Very dangerous and potentially more costly 

 

And possibly the most significant part of the problem...your daughter could have killed someone or herself and as such Im sure the relevant authorities (VOSA etc) would be interested in this and possibly informed of the negligence.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/complain-about-an-mot

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Very good point.

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After they have told you that they have thrown the parts away, the next thing to do will be to assess how much you should reasonably have paid to them for any work which might have been done.

Clearly the MOT is extremely suspect and so it seems to me that for the safety of your daughter she should go for another MOT.

I think it's worth going to a completely separate garage – may be some distance away. Tell the garage the entire story of what has happened and so asked them to do the MOT with particular care.

Ask them to doublecheck the work which has been carried out and to identify any other faults. I think this is an important first step in comparing the two MOT's and also getting a separate opinion as to the condition of the car and the work which has been done.

Come back here and let us know what has happened. I expect that we will have to suggest that you get a more detailed independent inspection afterwards but that will be more expensive and so we will get to that when it comes.

The intention is to understand what is the condition of the car – how efficient the first MOT was – and the quality of the work which has been carried out.

Once we can put a figure together, then we will start dealing with the garage and making a claim. I think that the point which has just been made by my site team colleague about the dangerous condition in which they allow the car to go is extremely important and I would have thought it would be useful to leverage that against them.

By the way I suddenly realise that we don't know what the name of the garage is? Which is the garage please – don't be shy

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Exactly. I was furious that they put peoples lives at risk. And at the same time ploughed ahead with less urgent work without authorisation 

 

I will post name of garage asap. Thank you all for such good advice. I was going to go to garage in person today as I wasn't involved with transaction. I'm very disappointed at service (but not surprised) as we have used this garage without problem for quite a while. I'll make sure of correct name and get it on here in next few minutes.

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well if the pads where near limit they should of stated that the pads on the limit but if the pads where looking below the limit they should of failed the mot so it seems the mechanics are clueless that you took it to

 

shoes would be a lie because they don't take the wheels or drums off to check life span on shoes and shoes do last alot of mileage my car as 100k on a picanto and still dont need replacing

 

wont suprise me if the garage didn't even change the rear shoes and if i was you dont take it to the garage you used from now on take elsewhere

 

also if i was you leave a bad review on google maps of the garage and did you check the reviews before taking it to that garage

 

 

 

 

Edited by ukshane4life
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