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taking car trader to small claims court


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Well this is precisely the kind of pattern of business reorganisation that would concern me.

I suppose you don't want to tell us the names of the previous business or the names of the previous directors, either.

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Noted about the structure of post - thank you. I will ensure this is followed for future posts   No, it is not the same company, just a similar kind of story when I had skim read it, and als

I think dx may have got the wrong end of the stick. You have your own topic, please keep posting here.   HB

There is no downside to mentioning the name of the dealer.   There is no reason to protect him and it will help us to to ascertain the best course of action and also so the best means of enf

I don't mind privately messaging you the name of the company but I don't want to include it on an open forum whereby anyone (including the trader) can search and view the conversation 

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And what's wrong with the trader finding it? As long as you are honest and straight dealing about everything you say, then there is absolutely no reason to play Secret Squirrel.

It is the trader who would want to conceal their identity because they wouldn't want to be associated with this by any other customers or potential customers. It is the trader who would rather maintain their reputation for being a reputable trading operation with integrity.

We have no problem with the trader finding references to them on this forum or anywhere else on the Internet. You never know, there may be other people who have been affected in some way by this trader and who are looking for some assistance or might have information which they could contribute to this thread but by keeping the identity secret, you are simply cutting yourself off from those potential sources of help. You also depriving other people of information which might affect their decision to chase the trader or even whether to buy a motor vehicle from them.

You say that they are only 6 miles away from you. Have you visited them? Have you made any attempt to communicate with them directly other than by letter?

I notice that the series of letters which you have sent to them so far are all dated this year. Everyone of them sets a deadline and then fails to follow up on the deadline. You simply undermine your credibility. There's no point in issuing a threat with a deadline unless you actually go ahead and carry out your threat.

I expect you think I'm being rather abrasive with you – and you would be right. I'm sorry about the loss of your father but to have allowed this to go on since 2019 is quite extraordinary. To want to protect the identity of the dealer is even more extraordinary, to seek advice from Citizens Advice was unfortunate – they are well-intentioned, and that's about it. To send a series of threats with deadlines which you never follow through is completely unhelpful to you.

If we continue assisting you, the next time you send a threat, you will have to follow through. You say that you don't know anything about bringing a small claim. Start reading up on this forum the steps involved in bringing a small claim in the County Court. It's not difficult but it's worth knowing the route so that you're not phased there in time you get a new piece of paper from the County Court.

Of course we will support you all the way as far as you let us.

Has there really been no attempts to communicate with this garage since 2019? Has there been no word from them at all since 2019?

You say that the car is no longer their premises. How do you know this? What attempts to be made to discover the whereabouts of the car?

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Is this company registered with the information Commissioner's office?

I'm trying to form a strategy of dealing with this – please check up with the ICO website to see if they have a data protection registration.

Also it would be helpful once again if you would engage with this thread and answer the questions I've put above.

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I think your comments are quit harsh to be honest. What was I supposed to do after every deadline? Ring the trader?  The letters were sent recorded delivery and I have proof of delivery from Royal Mail so if he didn't want to respond then that's down to him. It will show the court that he was not willing to resolve this amicably, and has had ample opportunity to. 

 

And like I have mentioned before, both my father and I have been communicating with him via phone calls, and texts. I didn't just send the letters out the blue. I was calling him every day / every other day from about mid Feb - beginning of April, and was getting nowhere hence why I followed the Citizens Advice. My father's nature was probably a bit too trusting and believed that he was doing what he said he was. 

 

I came on here initially asking for your help with how I go about completing the particulars of claim on the online form. I have every intention of taking this further,  as I want this trader to understand that I mean what I say and will follow through. 


The trader is a car salesman mainly, and has previously advised me that the car is at another garage to be repaired. Despite numerous requests over phone calls and texts, he would not disclose the location of this other garage, or provide me with the details to speak to the mechanic that was apparently repairing the issue. I requested photos of the car a number of times for my peace of mind and he hasn't sent these either. 

 

The trader is not a member of the RMIF or any other trade association as far as I am aware as I have previously checked this.

 

And not registered with the ICO

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Yes, my comments are harsh and well justified. 

You should never ever send out deadlines unless you have a plan to follow up. Sending deadlines which are never followed up simply undermine your position. You need a plan. You put the plan into action and you don't get diverted.
I'm afraid that's the way it happens when you are considering litigation and when you are dealing with a dealer who seems to be causing you the problems that you are telling us about and which seems to be treating you with a level of contempt, then it is especially important to have a plan and to implement it.

 

You say that you have been communicating with texts. Do I understand then that since 2019 until early this year, pretty well two years – you have been communicating over a vehicle worth more than £10,000 simply by SMS?
Presumably you have got copies of his text replies – yes? I hope you have backed these up and it is important that you print them out.

I'm well aware that you came here asking for help with the particulars of claim – but we don't even know what we are suing him for. You should understand that if you sue him without understanding exactly who you are suing, where the car is, what the story might be and also your chances of enforcing a successful judgement, you might find that you end up having spent the cost of issuing a claim and then have nothing to show for it.

It wouldn't matter if the trader was a member of a trade association. They are useless and they are simply designed to protect their members and they have no interest in you.

What is it that you decided you are going to sue him for? I'm talking about – what cause of action?


 

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Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods supplied must be of satisfactory quality. In this case, the car was not of satisfactory quality as had problems 2 weeks after my dad had the car. 

 

Also, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states "“service to be performed with reasonable care and skill” and “service to be performed within a reasonable amount of time”. In this case, the length of time it has taken to carry out repairs has not been acceptable and the "skill" is questionable too, as the car is no longer in a driveable state which it was prior to it being sent back to the garage in August 2020. 

 

And communication has been over text AND phone calls from 2019, firstly by my dad, then my brother in law, and lastly myself.

 

And yes, I have copies / back ups of the texts that can be printed off. 

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So what is his actual gripe about doing the car and letting you have the car back or letting you know where it is?

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He says it needs a new engine which is what he said back in October 2020 to my dad but was going to sort it for him. 

Since I’ve been dealing with him, it’s be a vague description of “waiting for parts to be fitted” and when questioning him further he couldn’t tell me specifically which parts were needed. Then the story was the the turbo charger needed reconditioning, and the crank shift needed replacing which was the reconditioned too apparently. But this apparently hasn’t solved the issue and says it needs a new engine. 

 

Now all of a sudden as my dad is now longer here, he is claiming my dad was going to pay for a new engine which costs in the region of about £4K due to the spec of the car 

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Did you contact the ICO?

Have you sent him an SAR? You should do so immediately.

I think that you should sue him in the tort of conversion

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No I haven’t contacted the ICO. I haven’t been advised to by either the Citizens Advice service or my employee assistance service. 
 

What would the SAR be for exactly? 

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An SAR is a subject access request and it is a statutory request for data under the data protection act. All organisations are bound to be registered with the ICO and they are bound to provide any personal data they hold on someone within 30 days.

However, I've just realised I made an error because your father has died and therefore the data protection rules insofar as data disclosure are concerned do not apply. Sorry.

I would suggest that you sue in the tort of conversion. As far as I understand it, the dealer is withholding the vehicle from you, refusing to give you access to inspect it and even withholding information as to its whereabouts.

You haven't told us exactly what he wants. Is there a sum of money or some condition has to be met?

So far as I can see, he is not entitled to deny you access to the car – at the least to inspect it, if he does have a valid reason for hanging onto it – such as unpaid bills and I would want to put it into the County Court to test it out.

It could be a very limited action that it might get him to respond and to state his position.

As far as I understand, all of your communication has been by way of texts and you don't have a clear message as to what he wants and what he wants it. Maybe I misunderstood. Please clarify.

The value of bringing an action for conversion is that it could oblige him to reveal the whereabouts of the vehicle, to make it available for inspection and to give a clear statement as to what is wanted.

If it really does need a new engine et cetera then I would have thought that you have lost confidence in this man and you would want to get the car away from him and have it repaired elsewhere.

If you see them in the tort of conversion, you can sue him for a nominal figure – say, £300 simply for the conversion and hopefully this would produce the other information you want.

I think you are entitled to seek confirmation of the condition of the vehicle and the cost of the repairs that he has estimated. And if you don't agree with those repairs then I would have thought that you would have grounds for taking the vehicle away, having the work done elsewhere and then suing him
it seems to me that he wants something to complete the work and you need to find out what that is, or else he wants something to let the car go – and you need to find out what that is.

The impression I have so far is that your communications have been a chaotic exchange of texts and it's not possible to discern exactly what his position is so that you can properly address it.

Tell me if I'm wrong


 

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The understanding was that he was supposed to repair the car , but has either been unable to do so or simply not done so. 
 

The car is in an undriveable condition and to be honest It wouldn’t surprise me if parts were now missing from the car due to the length of time he has had it for. 
 

He wants us to pay for the engine which was not agreed by myself or my dad however it’s not as if I can take the car off him to get a second opinion. 
 

But it is obvious that the goods (car) was faulty and not in a satisfactory condition and more so, the length of time it has taken for him to repair the faults is not acceptable. If he was unable to repair then he should advised us of this and given us the option  to return the car in the condition it was given. 
 

I am not prepared to pay him for repairs for a car that was sold to my dad with undisclosed , pre-existing faults that we were unaware and especially wondering my father has hardy driven it due to it being in the possession of the trader for the majority of time since October 2019 

 

And he knows exactly what the position is as I have made it clear to him that I want the car back in working order as was initially agreed with my dad and with myself. 
 

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Well you started off wanting to sue him for the full value of the car. Because of the value and because you don't really have any details of what is wrong et cetera I think this could pose difficulties.

 

Has he actually given you a clear list of the work that he thinks needs doing and of the money involved? Have you any idea of what he reckons is the value of the work that he has carried out so far?

These questions are not intended to suggest that he is entitled to that. I'm trying to understand his position.
 

If you really want to see him on the contract then of course we will help you but I think it's going to be tricky and I don't think you are taking the best course of action.

I would start off by sending a letter in which you make it clear in writing that despite the fact that you have asked for access to the vehicle, he has declined so that you have been unable to understand the condition of the vehicle as it now is. You have been prevented from understanding what work may have been carried out so far and also you are prevented from obtaining your own comparative estimates for the work which he believes needs doing.
Confirm to him also that not only has he withheld access to the vehicle, he has apparently moved it to new premises and refuses to divulge its whereabouts and this is been going on for X number of months.

After that, you can tell him that your position is still that he sold you a vehicle which should have been in satisfactory condition and yet it's clear that it's not and by his own admission it apparently needs a new engine despite the fact that it has scarcely been driven since it was purchased.

If you are not give you access to the vehicle allow you to take it away at the end of 14 days then you will sue him for the full value plus any ancillary losses and without any further notice.

Alternatively, you can say to him that as he will not grant you access to your own vehicle to carry out your own inspections, you will sue him for conversion under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1999 and without any further notice.

Take your pick.

If you send him either one of these letters, then you should be true to your word this time. Given 14 days and on day 15 click off the claim.

This means that you will have to register with the moneyclaim website and start drafting your claim. You can save your work as you go. I would recommend that you agree a particulars of claim with us.

 




 

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I would also point out in each letter that you have made strenuous attempts to contact him and to hold a dialogue with him and he has declined even to respond.

It's important that you get a proper paper trail down. I'm afraid that an exchange of text messages is not massively impressive.

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Has he actually given you a clear list of the work that he thinks needs doing and of the money involved? The answer to this question is no. Because he is not the mechanic, its always been very vague answers such as "the engine was driven without any oil, therefore there are engine issues", or "the turbocharger has been sent for repair / reconditioning", "the crankshift needs replacing" "the crank is being re-conditioned", "the engine has been put back together but no joy". But i have not seen any evidence / paper trails that parts were purchased, reconditioned etc as he said. 

 

Have you any idea of what he reckons is the value of the work that he has carried out so far? The answer to this is no. His responses towards the last time i spoke to him over the phone (which was beginning of April) was "I was doing this as a favour to your dad", or "your dad agreed to contribute towards/pay the cost"

 

In our last conversation, I did stress that he has had the car and it is in a worse state that when we gave it to him, i.e. undriveable, and his response was "well you can come and take it", and when I asked how I would do that when the engine is in bits, his answer was "you can always get it towed".  When I sought some advice through my employee assistance service, they recommended to leave the vehicle with the trader as if I took it off him, or to another garage, he could argue that we had tampered with it, so while it was in his possession, it is his responsibility. 

 

So i'm not sure whether writing a letter to him to take the vehicle away is the right thing to do in this instance. Alternatively, I could request that he gives me access to the vehicle , and take an expert with to me assess the condition of the vehicle where it is being held? And mention that if he does not grant access to the vehicle to carry out your own inspections, I will sue him for conversion under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1999 and without any further notice. And then go down the moneyclaim route.  But does this mean, I would not include the Consumer Rights Act 2015 then? 

 

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I think you have been poorly advised. I think you need to reduce the extent of the problem and you would do this by recovering the vehicle.

I agree that he may argue that you then go on to cause some damage et cetera but I think he is unlikely to succeed in this given his behaviour so far over nearly 2 years.

I have to say that I had understood from you that you had no access to the vehicle and he was preventing it. I now understand in fact that you do have access if you want it – although at the moment you don't know where the vehicle is.
I would want to arrange to have the vehicle taken away by another competent and reputable garage. It should be picked up on transporter and taken to somewhere where it can be fully examined and then an estimate for repairs can be given to you.

Then you will get a clear idea of exactly the value of any damage he has caused and you can proceed against him for that. You won't be in any worse condition than you are now and in fact you will be in a better condition because you will have the vehicle so you no longer have to depend upon his reluctant communication or even complete lack of communication. Furthermore, it would be most unlikely that the repairs needed would be as much as the small claims limit.
At the moment you have no idea what's going on, the value of anything, and you are proposing suing him for the entire value of the vehicle.

You obviously dealing with a very difficult man and I see a lot of value in reducing your problems to their minimum.

I understand that you aren't particularly interested in keeping the car anyway so a proper repair job which eventually would be paid for by him – would allow you to get the car fixed fairly quickly and then sold on so that at least that is out of your hair.

If you tell him that you want to take the car away and he refuses then sue him for conversion. If he allows you to take the car away – then take it away, get the estimate and then start getting into a proper correspondence with him on the issue of reparations. I wouldn't allow the correspondence to go on too long – probably not more than a couple weeks after the you had obtained a full assessment and quotation for the work and then I would simply go in and sue him and stop putting up with this nonsense.

If you prefer to follow the advice of Citizens Advice or if your employee assistance service then you had probably better go and do it rather than wasting any more time. However, you seem to have been receiving advice from them and you haven't managed to move on particularly.

You suggest going to his premises with your own mechanic to carry out an assessment. I think an assessment should be in proper garage surroundings with a proper lift and all the tools necessary to do it. You shouldn't count on your current secret repairer being prepared to provide all those facilities to you. He sounds obstructive and I'm still amazed that you want to protect him. You are doing yourself a huge disservice.

Get away from him as quickly as possible. Get the quote. Then we will help you write to him and make your demands but at the same time if you have the money, you can put the work in hand, get the car fixed and then got rid of.

This man has had the upper hand precisely because he has the car in his possession and you have allowed that to happen. I would've thought that this would be the first thing that needs to change.

You ask whether if you bring an action for conversion that you still retain rights under the consumer rights act – the answer is, yes you do.


 

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Furthermore, it would be most unlikely that the repairs needed would be as much as the small claims limit - what do you mean by this? Do you think it will be more? 


At the moment you have no idea what's going on, the value of anything, and you are proposing suing him for the entire value of the vehicle. - yes because I am not interested in keeping the vehicle, I'd rather get a refund and he ca do what he likes with the car

 

And what would happen if I take the car away from him, get the quote for reparations, and he refuses to pay, which I'm sure he will, otherwise he would have paid to get the work done by now? I would be in a worse off position and left with a huge bill for repairs from the new garage when quite frankly I don't really have the money for it. Hence why I think I was advised down the faulty goods route. 

 

 

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Well certainly simply suing him for the refund and leaving him with the car would be the simplest option of all because you wouldn't have to worry about taking it away, getting estimates, getting repairs et cetera. But litigation-wise it might be the most complicated.

 

In terms of the value of repairs, I think it would be most unlikely that it would be as much a small claims limit so no, I don't think it would be more. But on the other hand we really don't know because you have had no access to the vehicle and no way of assessing what you've been told.

If you took the car away and he refused to pay for the repairs then you would sue him for the repairs.

I don't think there's much more we can say. You understand the position and you want to protect his good name and reputation – that's a matter for you. So far I don't think you've put a foot right in the whole episode and I think you are continuing to do that.
 

See what you make of this particulars of claim

Quote

The claimant bought a Jaguar vehicle registration number XXX from the defendant for £XXX on XXX date. Very shortly afterwards, the vehicle developed serious defects and despite various attempts at repairs, the vehicle has continued to exhibit problems. The vehicle is now in the possession of the defendant and has been with him on and off for XX months during the entire XX months of the claimant's ownership. The defendant is fully aware of the nature of the defects and has been fully appraised. The defendant has supplied a vehicle which is manifestly not of satisfactory quality and the claimant has been fundamentally deprived of the entire purpose of the contract and seeks reimbursement in full of £XXX plus interest.


 

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I'd rather take the chance with suing him for the refund and losing, and then potentially having to pay for moving the car and repairs, than to do that now and spending money on a car that quite simply we do not want to keep any longer, and potentially risk losing more money, if that makes sense. 

 

I am not protecting him at all - quite the contrary actually - I am trying to protect myself so that he cannot use the fact that I have used his company name in an open forum and affected his company's reputation 

 

You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that, but given the grief and loss that we have encountered as a family, I (along with my brother in law) have tried our best to resolve this issue with him since January. I (along with my mother and sisters) want this matter concluded as quickly as possible now.

 

And thank you for the draft of the particulars of claim. I think it is a great summary. But do I have to compile a more detailed version of the particulars of claim at a later stage, i.e. a numbered paragraph sequence and in chorological date order from the start of this saga right up until now? I've seen some examples online so wasn't sure if this is what I needed to do now or later. 

 

I'm also not sure of the "plus interest" bit. What is your thinking around this?

 

My dad paid £10,500 (cash and part-ex) however for the sake of the extra £500, I really don't want to go down the fast track route. Therefore I was thinking of putting £10,000 as the value of the claim, and with fees it brings it to £10,445. So does the total value (including fees) need to be under £10,000 for small claims? If so, I will adjust the value accordingly. 

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Well I'm sorry but your concern that he might use the fact that he is name has been exposed on this forum against you is completely unfounded. Are you being straight dealing with us? Or are you misleading us?

Nobody will be in the slightest bit interested that his name appears on the open forum – other than him, may be – assuming that he sees it. And I've already explained to you the reasons why it is in your interest to put his name up. Of course you are protecting him. You think you're protecting yourself – but there is no danger to you so the only person who is protected as the dealer. Bravo.

I quite agree that the matter should be concluded quickly. It should never have gone on this long anyway – even since January.

No you don't have to complete a more detailed particulars of claim at a later stage. There is an opportunity to do that if you want by clicking a checkbox on the online form – but you shouldn't. The best thing to do is to simply give the basis of your course of action and then leave the details are scant.

If you give a detailed because of claim then that gives him a hint as to what points he should address in his defence. Leave your particulars claim bare of details and then he will properly have to be more forthcoming in what he says in his defence and that will give you some clues as to where this is going.

I expect that if you took advice from Citizens Advice or your employee trade association, they would tell you to set out a detailed numbered paragraph particulars of claim. If you are a professional you are think of doing that but as a litigant in person you have a lot of licence and we need to exploit that.

In any event, it seems to me that you scarcely have enough information ready to make a cogent particulars of claim.

If you eventually decide to issue this action then leave the check box unchecked and do not send any other information. Let him deal with it.

Incidentally, you will also be giving up interest at 8% per year because that would be included in the small claims figure. That means that your £10,000 would be earning £800 a year we should be a nice little earner on top of the money you are claiming.

Of course if you are absolutely satisfied as to your case and your ability to defeat this person then you may as well claim for everything – even onto the fast track. You would then be able to claim litigant in person costs which currently are a measly £18 per hour – but it's better than nothing and of course it will add to his pain and add to your gain at the end. Of course have already pointed out that in that event, if you lose then you would be liable to pay a good proportion of his costs. If he employed lawyers, then they would be charging far more than litigant person costs. Where costs are concerned it's a very unfair system.

The small claims limit refers to the substantive amount of money you are claiming and not the costs.

You would be well advised to bring it to 50 quid less so £9950.

If you decide to do this then put up the letter of claim that you propose to send him so we can have a look. There's been a lot and said in your exchanges and I think that it needs to be laid out very clearly in your letter of claim so there is no doubt that he is fully aware.
Don't make it too strutting. There is no need to write like a schoolmaster

 

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Why on earth would I be misleading you? Everything I have told you is fact. Do you really think I have nothing better to do than spend my days speaking to people, getting advice, on how to move things forward, especially as I have spent a lot of time over the last 6 months trying to sort this out. 

 

And I agree this shouldn't have gone on longer than it did. Like I explained my father was too trusting for his own good. If I had known then what I know now, I would have definitely intervened. 

 

I was advised to set out in paragraphs so that he can either admit, deny or non-admittal/deny each point. 

 

Incidentally, you will also be giving up interest at 8% per year because that would be included in the small claims figure. That means that your £10,000 would be earning £800 a year we should be a nice little earner on top of the money you are claiming. - I don't understand this point. Why would / should I claim interest. I don't want to be seen as unreasonable, and taking him for everything he's got scenario. I just want what's owed .  

 

And I don't understand about what you are saying about the limits. On the online form, I need to enter a claim amount. When I put £10,000 in, it adds the court fee (£455) and takes the total amount to £10,445 (as attached). Same if I put £9950 as you have suggested - with the court fee this goes to £10,405. So, what I am asking is, does the total amount need to be £10,000 or less (including the fees), or do I ignore the fees as such. 

 

Also, are you now saying I need to send him a letter of claim prior to completing the claim form online, as we discussed earlier? Even though I have issued a letter warning of court action? 

fees.pdf

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I didn't think you were misleadingly that I like the fact that you are indignant about it in yet you still want to protect the dealer because you are frightened of him.

You ignore the fees, but if you are asking for interest then interests would be included in the calculation as to whether it should go onto the small claims track or should be allocated to the fast track.

 

I understand very well that you've been advised to set everything out in paragraphs. However, we are advising you not to. We are advising you to keep your particulars of claim scant for the reasons I suggested above.

I've already said that if you lay everything out in great detail then you are providing cues for his responses. Why do you want to be helpful to him?

If you think that you're not giving enough information in your because of claim then he'll say so. The suggested particulars of claim that I laid out above is more than adequate to identify the cause of action and you don't need to do any more.

It's up to you who you want to take advice from – but this is taking up a lot of our time and we don't get paid. I expect that the people you are taking advice from are getting paid so they have the time to spend on it. However, just because they get paid doesn't mean that they are giving you the best advice. I can tell you that they are hobbled by what they see as good procedure. Our interests are in helping you use the system to to your best advantage and that means exploiting every advantage can.

I think you need to be less rigid in your approach

I'm not really sure what else we can say. It seems to me that you are taking advice from different sources and this simply causes confusion and extra work for everybody. I think you need to decide which horse you are going to ride and stick with it.

If you decide to take someone else's advice – then that's fine. You can update us from time to time if you would like. We will be intrigued to see how you get on.
 

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I sought advice from Citizens Advice and my employee assistant service at the beginning of this saga. Had I known or come across this forum, I would have asked for step by step advice from yourselves to help me. I only came across this webpage following an internet search with a few keywords, and I registered straightawaty. 

 

And I do appreciate all the advice and time you have spent reading and responding to me. 

 

And obviously I want to take advantage of the system wherever possible but also be seen to following the correct procedures etc. Like I said, I've never been to court, filed a proceeding, so this is all very new to me and obviously makes me nervous too. 

 

Please can you confirm when I would send the letter of claim ? Prior to completing the claim form online, as we discussed earlier, giving 14 days to respond? And this would be sent recorded delivery, and on the 15th day, I complete the claim form?

 

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I would suggest that you send the letter of claim this weekend. Register with the moneyclaim website, complete the details – save your work as you go. Paste in your particulars of claim – save it all and get ready to click it off on day 15.

Prepare the letter of claim. Post it up here. That can be more detailed than the POC which is included in the claim – but not too much. You simply want to establish a few points that need to be emphasised.

I'm sure we can get it ready by Sunday and you can send it off then. You may as well pay a visit and give him a copy as well.

If he replies then we can deal with that but once you have set your deadline, there won't be much he can do other than to agree. I don't think you should get into any further protracted exchange. I don't see that there is any particular basis for negotiation but you never know, he might make some kind of offer which appeals to you but by and large I wouldn't allow it to delay things. Play it by ear.

Check the particulars of claim that I have suggested. Make sure that you are happy with it and it represents the truth and that you are prepared to sign off as a statement of truth. If there is something that you think is really important to include then let us know but as I said, best tactic is to keep it scant.

If you are happy with this then start drafting your letter of claim. You won't be bluffing this time. So make sure that you are prepared to go ahead. I've already suggested that you look at this website – the steps involved bringing a small claim in the County Court. There's lots of information. It's very straightforward but it is worth being confident about the steps in advance.

Make sure that you understand enough that you know the way it's going to go so that you have a plan. It's rather disconcerting that you've already issued three letters of claim – each one giving a deadline – and yet you still didn't bother to check up how it all works.

You need to start taking control. You also need to let us know the name of the dealer.

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