If you are not satisfied with a vehicle repair, then you are within your legal rights to negotiate with the garage until you are able to come to an adequate solution. If these negotiations do not work, then you can take further action.
If you are experiencing ongoing issues with your vehicle, you should ask the garage whether they can provide you with a courtesy car or alternative solution before you spend money on a hire car. If you do have to hire an alternative vehicle, you should keep copies of all your receipts, in case you are able to claim this back later.
There are a number of different things that you could dispute with a garage. For example, if your vehicle comes out of the garage with problems which it did not have before you took it into the garage, then you may have a claim. You may also have a grievance if; faults were not correctly identified, existing faults were not repaired properly, the garage did not do the work you asked for, they charged you too much, or they took an unreasonable length of time to do the repairs.
If your negotiations fail then you will need to explore other options to claim compensation or get the work done properly. The garage is not allowed to dispose of your car if you are disputing the bill, so there is no need to be concerned about this. They can withhold your car from you until you pay them, but you can “pay under protest” and then continue with your claim later. If you decide to do this, make sure that you clearly mark your receipt with “paying under protest” so that it cannot be argued that you accepted the work.
You may be able to use a trade association to negotiate on your behalf. The garage is more likely to be receptive to a trade association, because these associations give them support and legitimacy in other areas.
You can also use an alternative dispute resolution scheme, such as mediation or adjudication. An independent third party will act as a negotiator between you and the garage to try to prevent the claim from going to court. Trading Standards offer a list of alternative dispute resolution schemes to try to protect both consumers and traders.
Taking the claim to court
You can try to take the claim to a small claims court, where you will be expected to give evidence about your dispute. If you are considering this option, you should seek legal advice before you begin court proceedings. If you lose your claim, you may have to pay court costs on behalf of the garage.
Reporting the Garage to Trading Standards
If the garage has used misleading advertising, unfair sales practices or if they have quoted one price and then charge another, you can report them to Trading Standards. Trading Standards will not be able to help you to get your money back, but they could help to prevent other people from suffering in future.