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Problems with the quality of garage repairs or service

If you’re not happy with the quality of work done by a garage or a fault reappears, the garage may have breached their contract with you or have been negligent.

This page explains how to get a garage to put things right if you're not happy with the quality of the work they've carried out.

Top tips

Newly bought cars from a dealer

If a newly bought car you purchased from a dealer needs repair, and you discover the fault within six months,you should contact the dealer. Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 it is presumed that the fault was present when you bought it. If the dealer disputes this, it is up to them to prove the fault was not present when they sold it.

If a newly bought car purchased from a dealer needs repair and you discover the fault more than six months after,you should contact the dealer you bought the car from, to give them the opportunity to inspect the car although it may be up to you to provide evidence that it is faulty.

If you take your car to a garage for a service or a repair

When you take your car to a garage for servicing or repair, you enter into a contract with the garage under the laws of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.

These laws give you certain rights. You are entitled to expect that the repair work is carried out:

  • with reasonable care and skill - this means that the garage should carry out the work competently and to a standard expected of a garage of that type
  • in a reasonable time - if there is no specific time agreed
  • for a reasonable charge - if no fixed price was set in advance.

If a fault was not correctly diagnosed or was not repaired properly

If a fault was not correctly diagnosed or was not repaired properly, you should allow the garage the opportunity to fix it.

Top tips

Extra protection with a credit card and debit card

If you pay for the repair or service by credit card, and if the work costs more than £100, you are protected by s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Section 75 makes the card provider as responsible as the dealer if something goes wrong. You are entitled to take action against the dealer, the card provider or both. This does not apply to charge cards or debit cards.

If you use a debit card to pay for the repair or service or if you use a credit card and the price of the work is less that £100 (your rights under s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 would not apply) you may be able to take advantage of the chargeback scheme.

If the garage refuses to put things right

If the garage refuses to put things right, check whether they belong to a trade association with a code of practice setting out standards of service they must follow. You can use this to show the garage that they must put the problem right.

If negotiations fail, you could consider using an alternative dispute resolution scheme for settling out of court. Check to see if the trade association has such a scheme.

If the garage disputes the problem or can't put things right, you can ask another garage to take a look at the car to assess the problem and provide a quote for the cost of work to put it right. This is to prove that the repairs or service need to be done. This second opinion might help you negotiate with the original garage for the problem to be fixed. Try to get this opinion in writing to support your claim. You will need to get a second opinion before you get the work done at another garage if you want to claim the costs back from the original garage.

You could also think about asking an independent engineer to provide a report on the condition of the car and its problems. It would be up to you to pay for this report. Be aware that if you ended up taking the garage to court, the judge might not read the report or award you compensation for the cost of carrying it out.

If this doesn’t work and you are on speaking terms with the original garage, you could negotiate to get a report from an independent garage or vehicle engineers. You would both need to agree on who provides this report, how the cost would be split and to be bound by the findings.

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