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damage to courtesy car - am i liable?


jarogold
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I put my Nissan Xtrail in for a service before christmas and was given a courtesy car for the day which i returned when i collected the xtrail at the end of the day.

 

I received a call the following morning from the garage to tell me that the front lefthand bumper was damaged and that it would cost approx £350 to repair and they wanted me to pay for it.

 

I told them that it had not been damaged whilst i had the car and that i will not be paying for the repair.

 

I did not inspect the courtesy car before taking it away and did not sign any document to say it was in good repair when i took it away. For all i know the damage was already there when i took it away or it was done after i returned it. I pointed this out to the garage but they insist that it was done whilst i had it.

 

I was wondering if anyone knows my legal position here as they are pursuing me for the cost of repair.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

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If they did not point out the damage when you handed the car in, I would just be minded to say to them its their tough luck.

 

 

Well, i did say that to them but added i would take advice and get back to them when i was sure of my legal position...

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It's your word against them & whilst they should have had you inspect it when you collected it they didn't nor did they (a garage who should know better) inspect it with you on your return.

 

Unless they drum up a witness I would suggest they are on a hiding to nothing.

 

Also I would advise that you never again take your vehicle to them for any service or repair as they may find expensive faults you never knew existed

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Seems too much for a courtsey car..Go with the rest and deny it.the onus will be on them

 

Not really. Experience of garages I've worked for tells me that £500 is quite reasonable under a motor trader's policy (which is what the car would have been insured under).

 

Thinking about it though, I'm somewhat surprised the OP wasn't asked to sign a declaration that the courtesy car was 'free of body defects' and indemnifying the garage for the excess should anything untoward occur before being allowed to take it away.

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Jimbo 44 - always happy to help, but always willing to learn from being corrected too!!! Whilst any advice given may be based upon personal experience, please always be sure you seek guidance from a professional in the particular field.

 

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark, but a large group of professionals built the Titanic.

 

A 'click' on the scales is always appreciated if I have helped. Many Thanks!

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Very unusual that they didn't get you to sign any declaration forms, which is the norm, and this won't help them any.

 

It is indeed your word against theirs, and if it were to go to court my bet would be that the judge would ask the trader what evidence they had that the car had been damaged by you, and as they won't be able to produce any declaration forms the judge will make a decision against them.

 

I'm not a judge and I can't predict results, but that's where my money would be if I was to bet on the outcome.

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Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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I am pleased that there seems to be a general agreement on this and it is in my favour!!

 

I have to put the car back in this week for a repair which is being carried out under warranty so will put off writing to them telling them i have no intention of paying for the repair, until the work has been done and i have my car back. Otherwise, they may keep my car until i agree to pay up!!

 

Will keep you posted of developments

 

Thanks everyone for your comments.

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  • 1 month later...

maybe difficult, you ahve not hired the car from them so in effect you have not paid for the use or insurance and being soley a coutasy vehicle they could argue it is uptoyou to take full responsibility of there posseion whilst in your care (this could also mean you should check what your taking care of before taking it away

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maybe difficult, you ahve not hired the car from them so in effect you have not paid for the use or insurance and being soley a coutasy vehicle they could argue it is uptoyou to take full responsibility of there posseion whilst in your care (this could also mean you should check what your taking care of before taking it away

 

So if this is looked at alongside your other thread, you claim that the garage owe no duty of car to a customer's vehicle, but that a customer owes a duty of car to the garage for the courtesy vehicle????

 

Methinks you need to make up your mind - you can't have it both ways

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Pat they might try to have it both ways but they can't...They do owe a duty of care to the customer & his car no matter what signs they post. Also if they are supplying a vehicle hired ot otherwise the still owe him a duty to supply a road worthy insured vehicle. They should not let their car be taken onto the public highway without making sure it's lawful too do so

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yes your right they do have a duty to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy but they do not have to provide the leagal cover if this can be provided by the customer!!!, you should check what your signing at the time you take the car it will have full details of who is to provide insurance whether it be you or the garage and if any limtations apply, believe me there are specific rules applied by insurance companies according to whether the car is to be used for courtasy purposes only or if it is to be used for hire or reward (free or paid for)

and as for my other post i think your getting completly confused here, if you have a courtasy or hire car then it is solely in YOUR care and subject to any limitations applied on it which are SIGNED for

 

if your leave YOUR car for repair you cant ASSUME the garage is alway at fault if damaged on a carpark (like i said the carpark is provided for its customers like any other carpak) if on the other hand your car was damaged during the repair (i.e. inside being worked on) then the story may be different altogether, in general though what i am saying is dont simply try to balme the next person all the time when sometimes you may have to accept some responsibilty yourself!!!

none of these problems should arrise inthe first place if you simply read what you sign for or ask if you unsure BEFORE the problem comes up, dont always assume you can leave your belongings somewhere and blkame someone else when something happens and dont accept courtasy cars without knowing the implications. (it easy to jump up and say "yes please i would love to borrow your car" but then try to avoid any problems with it afterwards, (guess what its also your responsibility to accept any fines from illegal parking ect whilst in a courtasy car aswell, or do you now think the garage should pay for everything you do illegally in the car aswell ????)

 

come on guys!!! a little bit of common sense here, try lending your car to your neighbour and let them crash it (then you would pay for all the damage would'nt you???? i think maybe not)

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Pat they might try to have it both ways but they can't...They do owe a duty of care to the customer & his car no matter what signs they post. Also if they are supplying a vehicle hired ot otherwise the still owe him a duty to supply a road worthy insured vehicle. They should not let their car be taken onto the public highway without making sure it's lawful too do so

 

Absolutely my point.

 

A garage supplying a courtesy car must ensure that it is insured (either by them or by a cover extension of the customer's insurance) otherwise they are guilty of the criminal offence of permitting under S143 of the RTA.

 

Of course they owe a duty of care to the customer - why else would they have motor trader's insurance?

 

I do accept that if a vehicle is damaged in the garage car park, then they may not be liable if the insurer for the driver doing the damage is known. But this is not any concern of the customer.

 

If the car is damaged in Sainsbury's car park, it is either my insurer, or the other driver. If my car is damaged whilst in the care of the garage, then it is either the garage's insurance or the other driver - it is definitely not me or my insurance.

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Sorry gb but your completely wrong

 

If the car is damaged whilst in the possession of the garage then they are liable.......even if parked by them on the street

 

Who insures it is irrelevant & would be by agreement between parties. As it is their vehicle the garage must make certain that it is insured before it leaves their keeping when it will be driven on the public road.

 

Also as far as FPN for speeding is concerned the garage can only complete the NIP telling the police who the driver was but the garage cannot demand payment without a prior agreement.

 

Forgive me & I mean this in the best possible way but if you operate in the garage industry then you need to speak to lawyer as you are one day going to find your lack of knowledge is going to cost you.........I've seen it happen to others who didn't exercise a proper duty of care to a customer & thought a disclaimer notice protected them

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really dont unstand this at all

i am fully aware that the garage must make sure there is cover in place thats exactly why i said you as the customer should also be aware by reading anything you sign for because you also hold a duty to make sure you a covered before going on the public highway

 

i never metioned anything about a car being unroadworthy so i dont no where you got that from, and i never said anything about NIP's i was simply trying to give example of whats going on here and saying would you (the customer) expect a garage to pay any leagal fines you incur.

 

try reading through more carfully to understand what i am saying and the examples i am giving!!!!

 

if a gargae simple hands out a car without any agreement signed then you could say the garage is negligent for not ensuring it is legal to drive

 

on the other hand the person taking it would also be negligent for not ensuring they are leagl to drive so it becomes stale mate and in court both parties could suffer

 

why do you think i keep saying read what you sign!!!! its in your best interest regardless of what any garage tells you

 

in law when on the road you will be expected to have legal cover and a police officer will not listen to "i assume the garage is covering me""

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in law when on the road you will be expected to have legal cover and a police officer will not listen to "i assume the garage is covering me""

 

But what will a court think?

 

To be honest, in the OPs case, it was clear that the garage were insuring the car with an excess, the garage did not sign or produce any documentation regarding the state of the car and therefore I do not believe they would have a leg to stand on in court if they were trying to prove that the OP had caused the damage.

 

They would have no evidence to support their claims.

 

Had they gone over the car beforehand and produced a document for the OP to sign stating the condition of the car, and the car was returned in a different condition, they would have an argument. But without this, I doubt very much that a court would find in their favour.

 

I have to say gb that the other posters on this thread have got it entirely right, I am sorry if you don't find their explanations clear.

Please note I'm not insured in this capacity, so if you need to, do get official legal advice.

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Also it's worth noting that if they just stuck a piece of paper/agreement under the OP's nose for signature (which often happens) without explaining the important terms......such as insurance excess then they STILL might find their agreement unenforcable

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really dont unstand this at all

i am fully aware that the garage must make sure there is cover in place thats exactly why i said you as the customer should also be aware by reading anything you sign for because you also hold a duty to make sure you a covered before going on the public highway but the greater duty is on the owner/supplier. The argument bythe customer would be "I assumed being a garage & the owner & as they where giving me the car to use it was insured. They certainly didn't ask me to insure it"

 

i never metioned anything about a car being unroadworthy so i dont no where you got that from I was explaining the duty of care owed to the customer included supplying a road worthy vehicle and i never said anything about NIP's i was simply trying to give example of whats going on here and saying would you (the customer) expect a garage to pay any leagal fines you incur. I was explaining that they might have too because without an agreement the garage could not demand that the customer pay anything. The only thing they could do to avoid paying the FPN would be to complete the NIP letting the police know who the driver was who would then be served.

 

try reading through more carfully to understand what i am saying and the examples i am giving!!!!

 

if a gargae simple hands out a car without any agreement signed then you could say the garage is negligent for not ensuring it is legal to drive

 

on the other hand the person taking it would also be negligent for not ensuring they are leagl to drive so it becomes stale mate and in court both parties could suffer Not so see above

 

why do you think i keep saying read what you sign!!!! its in your best interest regardless of what any garage tells you What the garage tells you is important because what they say can be part of the contract & more important than what you sign....In fact in cases of dispute what is 'said' is often the most important part of the contract. It's upto the court to decide who to believe

 

in law when on the road you will be expected to have legal cover and a police officer will not listen to "i assume the garage is covering me""

See above

Check above

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whilst its good for the garage to explain any limitations verbally this method would still very much be "your word against theres" in court, this iswhy i keep saying read what you sign

i wont go into detail here but i can say the garage has a duty to see evidence of I.D. before allowing the car out (this is for leagl reasons and the form ofi.d.must be noted)

i have not disputed what this thread is about and i do agree that if nothing was signed then the onus should really be on the garage,

all my replies are simply to letothers know that it is impertive to know where ou stand before having a coutasy car or hire car andread the agreement before signing aswell as checking the vehicle over

if your aware from the start and are then happy to take the car then there would not be issues like this arrising!!!!

 

i keep saying it, common sense prevails, dont wait till its too late

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It doesn't matter whats on the form they also have a duty to explain things such as the amount of excess even if it is on the form, which it should be. They must draw the drivers attention to any clauses of the contract not immeadietly apparent. The courts accept that not every consumer reads the small print & decides accordingly.

Things like "you do realise that if you have a fault accident you will have to pay the excess of" whatever sum would be sufficient provided the court believed them.

 

Many garages take a deposit equivilent to the excess before you drive off. That way their is no argument about the user being responsible to pay the excess

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like i said read what you sign regadless of what anyone says

 

someone could say "dont worry we cover everthing" but the form says you pay every penny out of your own pocket

 

duty or no duty to explain, it really does not matter

 

READ WHAT YOU SIGN !!!!

 

COMMON SENSE PREVAILS !!!!!!!!!

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Yes common sense should prevail particularly when it come to understanding the law & that people very often do not read what they sign

 

If the garage state everthing is covered that is what the user would claim in court & it would be for the court to decide irrespective of what the form states.

 

Today the courts understand that what it says in the small print is often overlooked by the ordinary consumer & they would expect the customer to have been advised verbaly as to the most important contract terms.

 

Anyway returning to the OP if they have no agreement &/or cannot prove the OP did the damage then they have no case

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