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Guest Bert52

Hello

 

This is quite complicated but I'll try and be brief but any help would be great.

 

I purchased a warranty for my car from Warranty Direct Ltd and I had to make a claim in January as it suffered a head gasket failure, (MGF!).

 

Anyway, Warranty Direct refused my claim, and changed the reasons for refusal on three different occassions over a few weeks, and I had no option but to issue proceedings against them and they have until the 17th April to reply to the court.

 

The second reason they gave was that the garage, who they told me to use as it is an approved garage, went ahead and repaired the car without their authorisation and so will not pay.

 

Other than giving permission for my car to be stripped down initially to discover the repair needed, which is standard procedure under this warranty claim and that I would be lible for the bill if the claim was refused, I gave no authorisation whatsoever that my car should be fully repaired and I foot the bill in the event of a refused claim.

 

No verbal permission for this and no paper work signed be me at all. Also, I was obviously not given any estimate either.

 

I have claimed that Warranty Direct's issue is with the garage's negligence and should therefore deal with them rather than refuse my claim as I am not at fault. I had followed the claim procedure implicitly.

 

The car has remained at the garage as I have refused to pay and am not in a position to do so in any case.

 

Despite their clear negligence the garage have now sent me a letter which states that unless I pay the bill, £1300, they will issue proceedings against me!!

 

What is my best course of action?

Should I counterclaim any summons?

Should I insist the car be put to the original pre-repair state and just pay the initial stripping of the engine fee and just pursue Warranty Direct?

Consider something else?

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Hi

I will try to help a bit as I have worked for a dealer for 16 years, but without seeing the copy of the warranty booklet, I am just putting all extended warranty companies in the same boat!!

 

I purchased a warranty for my car from Warranty Direct Ltd and I had to make a claim in January as it suffered a head gasket failure, (MGF!).

Extended warranty companies do not usually pay out for head gasket failures as they are classed as wear & tear. I do not think you will get anywhere by taking them to court.

Warranty Direct will try anything to get out of paying, we often get vehicles into our dealer with extended warranties and to be fair, they aren't worth the paper they are written on.

 

What is my best course of action? I would stop the action to against warranty direct and start action against the garage for carrying out the work without your authority - ask them for written proof of your authority and a copy of the estimate.

Should I counterclaim any summons? Yes!

Should I insist the car be put to the original pre-repair state and just pay the initial stripping of the engine fee and just pursue Warranty Direct?

You could try this, as it is not something they would want to do, so they might try to strike a deal with you.

Consider something else?

 

 

Hope this helps

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What would you counterclaim for? They're suing you for the cost of work, what would your costs be? Seems to me to be a straightforward defence. You would be liable to pay for the stripping down work that you authorised them to do, however you would argue that you had not authorised them to carry out any work further to that and therefore you wish the car to be returned into the condition it was previously in (that's usually a good approach).

 

I'd also tend to agree with Tiaposy in that these warranties are often fairly worthless, you'd need to read the terms and conditions to see what is covered but they generally don't cover "wear and tear".

 

You will presumably want the work carried out, or will you be getting rid of the car?

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

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Guest Bert52

Thanks for the replies.

 

The garage's threat is new and I've not had any legal advice about that as yet.

 

With regard to the warranty company and the advice I have had-

 

I have to pursue the warranty company as my contract is with them, not the garage. It is for the warranty company to resolve this issue with the garage because of the garage's negligence rather than refuse my claim due to the bad working practices of the garage.

 

I followed the correct procedure in making a claim but the garage did not.

 

I have several mechanic's witness statements, one of which worked at Longbridge for 35 years, who point out that head gasket is not a wear and tear issue in the sense that it is not routinely changed like a clutch would be. In essence, a head gasket is meant to last for the life of a car.

 

Several other witnesses, from the MG Owners Club, have MGF's on over 100k miles and have never had a head gasket failure. By the warranty company's logic I could only have avoided a failure if I had had a perfectly working head gasket replaced just in case I ever have a failure!

 

Also, every part of a car is in use when being driven so it follows that every part of a car is void due to wear and tear. This would appear to be an unfair contract term as this excuse could be used for any part of a car to restrict liability.

 

As for a counterclaim against the garage-my costs would be paying for a repair I didn't authorise obviously.

 

If they do summons me for the repair bill then, as far as I am aware, I should counterclaim for the repair amount and the court will decide who should pay on the evidence.

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Sounds like a K series rover engine to me !!!

anyway this warranty company does actually payout for head gasket failure on these cars, i know because i have dealt with these myself

i think we need to hear what the reasons of refusal are???

in any event if the refusal is valid then you are fully responsible for the stripdown but the garage should not have continued repair without further consent from yourself

 

the garage only becomes answerable to the warranty company if the said warranty company agrees repair and authorises it (i.e. if it was fixed under warranty and a further problem developed with the work carried out then the warranty company would be the customer to the garage and have to resolve the issue with them, in other words even though its your car you could not ask for any compensation or complain to the garage directly, only the warranty company could do that)

 

as it stands in your situation you are still the customer and therefore liable but only for the stripdown that you authorised and nothing more.

rosiecotton is correct in saying you can request the garage return the car back to its former state (stripped down) and then you can collect the car and pay only for the strip down (you might even find thay agree to this, (i am a mechanic and can strip these cylinder heads off in less than 1 hr

or 2hrs if its an MGF)

 

example of why warranty company may refuse:

 

water pump fails resulting in ecessive overheating but driver continues to drive anyway resulting in "cooking" the engine as its called in the trade which causes further damage to componants, in this case the warranty may cover cost of water pump but nothing else as driver error causes further problems.

 

another refusal maybe cylinder head shows signs of perforation (degrading of the alloy which it is made from due to age) this would be seen as wear and tear.

 

if the warranty company refuse now because the car is repaired, then you can argue that with the garage directly

the work should be done as follows:

 

1 .you are asked for authorisation to stripdown (whether you pay depends on successful claim)

 

2. garages strips and reports findings to warranty company (if agreed authorisation number is issued to the garage for payment)

 

3. if authorisation fails then garage contacts owner of car to let them know the warranty is refusing (note here i am not saying its the responsibilty of the warranty to make contact)

 

4. owner decides if the work should continue (at there expense)

 

5. if owner disagrees at that point with warranty decision then he should contact warranty to try to resolve the issue BEFORE any further work is carried out (this allows the warranty company to send out there own engineer to inspect the car whilst stripped down if disagreement occurs)

 

i could be wrong here but did the garage actually contact the warranty company when the car was in a stripped down state or did they complete the work then try to get authorisation????

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also a quick note in reference to what the guy from longbridge has told you as he is wrong

 

head gasket as with the rest oif the components of a car are NOT ment to last the life of the car, what he is saying makes no sense whatsover and has no bearing on your problem.

he cannot compare to clutch either as a clutch is not a servicable item even though you describe it as though it is

 

serviceable items are those that are changed or adjusted during routine service schedules (filters, oils ect) and these are not covered by warranties anyway because they are serviceable

 

if what your saying was true then every person in the land would be approaching warranty companies for repairs when they fail MOT's (due to the part should last the life of the car) this is simply not true

 

warranty companies work on a basic guidline of whats considered mechanical failure or whether its wear and tear, if its decided the later is the case then the claim will be refused

 

say you go down the road and your wheel bearing unexpected collaspes, then that would be accepted for claim as it failed by COLLAPSING

 

if you wheel bearing was found to be noisey during servicing or mot that would not be exepted due to normal wear and tear

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Guest Bert52

That's an excellent post gbjadyy.

 

I called the warranty company when I suffered a hgf and they told me to use their approved garage local to me as they would cover all labour costs.

 

This I did and the AA dropped off my car to them. The warranty company told me that I had to authorise the strip down which is what I did, but, only that and nothing more.

 

It took over two weeks and I then got a call from the garage who said that my car was ready but I had a hefty repair bill of £1300 as the warranty company refused to pay the repair due to 'driver negligence.'

 

The garage had repaired the car with no authorisation from anybody whatsoever.

 

I contacted the warranty company who asked did I know of any proir overheating problems and I explained that I had had no knowledge of any overheating, which is the truth, and it failed suddenly when I left the M4 after a journey of almost 130 miles.

 

My last service was only four months prior, which was a 60k main service with £400 extra work done, and I had only travelled less than 3000 miles and I also explained I knew what to look for in these cars, such as mayo, losing coolant etc but everything was fine.

 

They came back to me and said that they accept I had no knowledge of any problems but they were now refusing to pay because the garage just went ahead and repaired without any authorisation from them. This they put in writing.

 

It was obvious the garage just went ahead and repaired and didn't follow the procedure of the warranty company. The garage didn't ask me either for authorisation.

 

It seems that I have a contract with the warranty company and I was only doing what the contract says and what the warranty company told me to do.

 

To refuse my claim because of their own approved garage's negligence doesn't appear to be valid. I suffer the consequances for some others mistake. Shouldn't the warranty company pursue the costs from the garage? I didn't take my car to the garage as a private customer but as a warranty claim.

 

Also, they then made a third excuse that it is a wear and tear issue anyway.

 

How can they determine that when they have no knowledge of the cause or extent of the damage to the cylinder because of the garage?

 

Why didn't the main rover garage who carried out £500 of work during the service inform me that my cylinder head was worn and torn and needs to be replaced despite only 45k on the clock?

 

Obviously the warranty company are saying I should have changed the head, despite it running fine, because it is worn at 45k. I would be laughed at if I asked a garage to replace something that doesnt need replacing.

 

Is it not the case that no garage would suggest that unless there was cause for concern? Could I expect the head to last another 55k at least just like some of my witnesses MGF's?

 

Also, I have a witness who sued a different warranty company and won because they refused to repair a hgf.

The ruling was that there are dozens of reasons why a hgf occurs and some can be 'sudden', which is covered and not regarded as wear and tear for this particular part of the car.

 

It's a mess.

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Guest Bert52

I have probably taken it out of context as we had a chat by phone and he's willing to write a statement.

 

But, his view, I think, is that a head gasket may never cause any problem at all during a cars liftime so to just replace it, just in case, makes no sense as a new one could fail at any time.

 

It was also pointed out that a rover garage found no cause for concern, just 3k miles earlier, so why replace something that isn't broke?

 

Does that make more sense?

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once again the head gasket is NOT a serviceable item and therefore is not changed at regualr intervals and the rover agent that serviced the car will not report a problem to you if its not causing a problem,

the garage is still at fault though as they have continued unauthorised work

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also i am not entirely sure how you would get on with this one but you could always make offer of payment for the stripdown and also cost of parts used and have you car back just leaving the reassembly cost in dispute, on the basis that the garage will have to sue you for this

under law they have rights to the parts used untill paid for in full but if those parts a driving around the copuntry its up to them to try and resolve payment.

 

i believe the garage has no right to hold the vehicle if authorised payment is paid aswell as any parts used, meaning you can force them to give the car back and chase for the money which they will never get as they had no right to carry out the work without consent from yourself

 

If you want to know what the stripdown should cost ask a friend to phone and make enquires as to the cost of stripping down ONLY an MGF (pretending he has a problem with his car) at least this way you have a good idea of cost and just need to add parts to that

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parts used would be:

 

cylinder head gasket set

cylinder head gasket (usually does not come in the set)

cylinder head bolts

Oil & Filter

Antifreeze (if required)

Cambelt (if agreed)

 

note the last two are only agreed items they are not a requirement for this work

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Guest Bert52

Thanks for the help.

 

In any case, the garage are going to have to lie and convince a court that I did in fact verbally agree to authorisation for repair, as a verbal contract is as good as a written one and I haven't signed anything at all, despite my having a typed letter from Warranty Direct which clearly states the garage never contacted them for authorisation.

 

I don't think the court will accept this lie as they have already proved bad practice by ignoring procedure they are very familar with when dealing with it initially as a Warranty Direct claim.

 

Also, they are going to have to convince that I agreed to all this without even an estimate. They didn't even call me at any time during the repair.

 

I would have had the Land Rover gasket and lower oil rail fitted anyway if I knew I was paying.

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let us know how you get on with this!!!!

if you have it in writing from the warranty company that the garage did not call them for authorisation then you have no worries and theres no reason why your car cant be handed bacik to you without paying any of the unauthorised work.

this sounds as though some muppet at the garage did not even realise your car was in for a warranty claim so just went ahead with work

 

you might be interested to know also that most warranty companies can deal with almost all independant garages as long as they are VAT registered so in future ask at your trusted local garage first to see if they are willing to take on the job and check with warranty aswell for the OK on this (theres usually no problem)

 

what i am saying is it does not have to be the approved garage

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Guest Bert52

The first letter from them states 'as no authority had been given from our Claims Dept in relation to this repair...we are unable to accept this claim.'

 

I contacted the warranty company by letter and explained that I am not responsible for the garage's negligence in going ahead with a repair with no authorisation either from Warranty Direct or myself and I gave them 7 days to reply before I would take it further.

 

The second, and last letter from the warranty company, states that 'the dealer should not have commenced any repairs before he had got authorisation and agreed cost with Warranty Direct...'

 

They then go on to say that they have no control over the working practices of the garage and 'any problems regarding any repair must be resolved between me and the garage.'

 

Yet Warranty Direct claim that they 'handle all claims' and I don't know if I have any problem with the repair anyway as I haven't had my car back! I have had a problem with the process of the repair which was done with no authorisation! How could I intervene in any case as the garage made no contact with me or the warranty company at any time?

 

Plus, the policy clearly states that 'the garage are responsible for calling Warranty Direct to agree costs and get authorisation..'

 

Within this letter they also recognise that I have had 'little control over events but they would make some form of goodwill offer.'

 

My last reply was that unless this goodwill offer was the same as what a valid claim would be, ie a fully met claim, then I would pursue legal action within 7 days if it wasn't settled.

 

They didn't reply to me but the garage called me and said that I have to pay as there is no way they will pay the whole amount.

 

So I have made a small claim.

 

And now the garage are threatening that unless I pay the bill they will sue me!!!!!!!!!

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Guest Bert52

Besides this my car has been laying idle in the garage's car park since the repair was finished on Feb 2nd and the dispute has been running.

 

What further damage could this have caused the car in any case?

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