Garage pricing advice needed

Hi all,

Just had a steep bill from the garage after fixing a fault and was looking for some advice on whethere I am being ripped off or if its to be expected.
My 06 Honda Civic Type S (26,000 miles) developed a fault with the central locking, whereby it began to activate as I was driving, opening then locking the doors.

Didn't cause too much problems at first, just a nuisance, but then the boot did not open occasionally and then on one occasion I could hear the car doors actuating all through night so I decided to get the car in to the Honda dealer in case the battery went flat.

The car went in to the Honda main dealer in Dundee on Thursday am and when I called later that day, the told me they had fitted a new door actuator unit, this would fix the problem, cost £148 and I could pick it up that night.

Called later to arrange pick up to be told it hadn't worked, they were going to try something else and could they keep the car overnight? After checking I wouldn't be charged for this unit, I agreed as I was in a car share that week and didn't require my car.

Call back Friday afternoon to be told they couldn't fix the fault, and had sent it to an auto electrician to fault find, as they were stumped. He was going to be working on it Saturday morning. As I needed a car for the weekend, they gave me a courtesy car.

Called Monday and left a message but no one called me back (said they had the wrong number, fair enough). Called Tuesday, and was told the problem had now been fixed, it was a simple broken wire in the drivers door.

The bill was £248. I was told this included the invoice from the auto electrician to them for £182 and their labour charge of £66 as they spent 6 hours looking for the fault.

The question I have is this, should I be paying Honda labour for them to look for a fault that they didn't find?

Also, should an auto electricain have taken 2 days plus to find a broken wire in a door? I'd have thought fault finding should have taken a lot less than this but I do understand modern car wiring is very complicated.

Or am I just going to have to wind my neck in and stump up?

Your opinions please, apologies for the length of this post.

I would advise you to offer them £182 (Although 66 quid for 6 hours work is dirt cheap, they failed to locate or fix the fault so I dont see why you should pay it). If they do not accept this, I would advise contacting Honda UK with the full story and see what they say about it.
Thanks for the reply BOAB, I was thinking along the same lines.

It's always good to get another opinion before crossing swords wtih them on the phone.
Pop along to CAB

Vehicle servicing is covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982

Vehicle servicing and repair are obvious areas where disputes can occur between the vehicle owner and the garage. When you take your vehicle to a garage for servicing or repair, you are entitled, under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, to expect the garage to carry out the work:

With reasonable care and skill
(the standard of skill of an average garage)
In a reasonable time
(unless a specific time was agreed)
At a reasonable cost
(unless a price was agreed)
As the majority of vehicle owners are not very knowledgeable about the mechanics of their vehicle, they are therefore very reliant on the garage staff to treat them fairly and carry out a good job at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, even though the majority of garages are very reputable and honest, there are some garages who will, if you let them, provide poor quality work at a high price. A lot of these problems can be prevented by taking some simple precautionary steps.

Be Specific

Do not just take your car to a garage and ask them to 'fix' it.! You are asking for trouble as a disreputable garage could literally repair any faults they find.

Do not give the trader an open cheque by not obtaining a firm price for the work.

Discuss the symptoms and the likely costs of the repair with the owner, clarify whether the price is just for the materials or includes the labour and also whether VAT is included. Try to obtain a written quotation which specifies what repairs are necessary, what parts may be required (ask for the old parts to be given back to you) and also includes a price for the work. If this is not possible, obtain a written estimate and give a maximum amount that the garage can spend without your authorisation.

Do not just leave the vehicle with the garage to repair when they can fit it in. Agree a firm date and time, with the owner, when the work will be completed. Leave a contact number in case any problems develop.

If the trader is not willing to comply with your requests, or you are unhappy with the amount or cost of the work that is suggested, be prepared to take the car elsewhere, or to seek a second opinion.

What if Something Goes Wrong?

The car is not ready by the agreed date
Discuss the situation with the owner and try to obtain a new date for completion. If the car is still not ready and the trader does not appear to be very helpful, it may be necessary for you to take the car away. You will probably have to pay for any work that has been carried out.

The fault has not been rectified
Take the car back as soon as possible to allow the garage a chance to examine and resolve the fault. If you are unable to do this, phone the owner as soon as possible and advise him of the problem. Give him the opportunity to resolve the problem.

Repairs have been carried out without authorisation
This can be a contentious matter, especially with verbal contracts, as it can be very difficult to 'prove' that the garage had carried out the work without your authority. It will generally come down to 'proving' your word against the word of the garage.

If the garage has carried out unauthorised work, you could require them to 'undo' the work and put the vehicle back in its original condition, however, this course of action can also create problems, especially if it would make the vehicle unroadworthy . The trader may also refuse to undo the work or release the vehicle without payment. If improvements have been made, the garage is entitled to exercise a lien over the car, this is a legal right to hold disputed goods until payment is made. In these circumstances, the only way you can recover possession of the car is to 'pay under protest' and to then pursue your claim for reimbursement against the garage through arbitration (trade association) or the courts.

The garage doesn't accept liability!
Put your complaint in writing, giving the garage a specific date to rectify the fault. (See 'Writing a letter of complaint'.) You may need to obtain a written report, from an independent engineer, e.g. AA or RAC to provide technical evidence to back your claim.

If the trader does not respond to your letter, you may now have to have any defects rectified by another garage. (It is only fair to advise the owner of the second garage that the repair is the subject of a dispute.) You will have to pay for the repair and then claim the repair costs back, if necessary, through arbitration (trade association) or the courts.

The cost of the repair is higher than I expected
If you are in dispute and refuse to pay the price the garage is charging, the garage is entitled to exercise a lien over the car, this is a legal right to hold disputed goods until payment is made. In these circumstances, the only way you can recover possession of the car is to 'pay under protest' and to then pursue your claim for reimbursement against the garage through arbitration (trade association) or the courts.

You will need to advise the garage in writing that you are not accepting the price and are paying purely to get the car back, and giving them a specified period in which to reimburse the disputed amount. You may ultimately have to pursue your claim through arbitration (trade association) or the courts.

The vehicle was damaged at the garage
The garage has a general duty of care to look after your vehicle while it is in their possession, therefore if the vehicle is damaged at the garage, the cost of any repairs will be the garage's liability.

Good Garage Schemes
Some Trading Standards Services operate 'Good Garage Schemes' for vehicle sales and/or servicing and repairs. You may wish to contact your local Advice Office for a list of current members.
Bugger, I thought this was another variation on the shed thread! :lol:
Jarrod and Johnboy, thanks for replies.

Some sage advice there for the future. Think my main problem as highlighted was leaving it at the garage without a set time to get it fixed or agreeing a price, because I didn't need the car that week.

Am currently awaiting a breakdown of the bill to arrive.

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