Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Caution Crucial on That Repair

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Caution Crucial on That Repair

Article excerpt

Most car owners at some point will have to send a vehicle to a garage for repair, but where do you stand in terms of an unsatisfactory repair job?

When you give a garage permission to carry out repairs or other similar work, you enter into a contract with that garage.

Most of these will be verbal contracts, but whenever possible try to give your instruction in writing, which will make it easier to confirm what was agreed, should any dispute arise.

The garage repairing your car is expected to carry out the repairs with adequate skill and within an acceptable time period.

If a fixed price is established when making the contract, then both you and the garage are bound by it.

It is more usual, however, that a garage will give you an estimated price prior to carrying out the work. Although this will not bind the garage, it should indicate the eventual cost.

When no price is actually quoted, you should be charged a "reasonable" price for all adequate work carried out. Should a dispute arise, a court of law will determine what is reasonable, by taking into account the work done, market rates and any previous dealings.

A court however, will not automatically consider a price to be unreasonable simply because another garage in the area charges less.

When a car has been repaired, a garage has the right to keep the car until payment for the work has been received.

If you remove the car from the garage without authorisation you risk civil or possibly criminal proceedings. Should a lengthy dispute over payment arise, you should pay the amount demanded, but mark the invoice "Paid under protest".

When leaving your car with a garage, establish exactly what authorisation you are giving it in terms of carrying out additional work on your vehicle.

If you authorise the garage to carry out only specific work and no additional work without your further permission, then the garage is not entitled to claim payment for the extra work. …

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