Cars and garages

How not to get fobbed off by a garage (and what to do if you have been!)

Protecting yourself when using a garage

How not to get fobbed off by a garage


1) Agree a price for the work with the garage ideally in writing so it can be used later if there is a problem. This should be a quote not an estimate

2) Ask exactly what work will be covered including service and any parts and get this in writing

3) Ensure that the garage knows to contact you if it feels that additional work needs to be done and this should also be in writing. You could agree an amount for small matters without having to call but I prefer the everything agreed in writing approach! Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively

4) If it is too late and you haven’t done this then s/he should get two estimates from other garages as evidence and start the process below. If forced to pay then you should state in writing “payment under protest”

What to do if things do go wrong when you use a garage:

1) The Consumer Rights Act 2015 from October 1st last year covers vehicle repairs and servicing. So if the consumer believes that the service has not been undertaken with reasonable skill and care or has taken an unreasonable length of time (or longer than the agreed time) the consumer can request a refund/part refund or insist that the job is undertaken properly.

2) If the vehicle doesn’t work as it should after a repair some days after and this is due to poor work that the consumer can also claim.

3) If the garage refuses to provide redress by either giving a refund or redoing the job the consumer can go to arbitration through the trade association if the garage is a member.

4) You are also entitled to out of pocket expenses if you have had to use different transport whilst the job is redone but you must keep this to a minimum.

5) If your vehicle gets damaged at the garage the garage is responsible. The garage must pay to put things right under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 from the 1st October unless it can prove that it was not responsible. If the garage says it is not responsible for vehicles left in its possession it is in breach of the Protection from Unfair Contract Terms  Regulations 2008.

6) You can also write to the CEO of the garage/chain by getting the contact details from

7) Be polite, assertive and quote your legal rights. Complain in writing wherever possible as this is clear evidence in court should you need it. Give a time for when a response is expected and what will happen if a satisfactory response is not received (e.g. contact Trading Standards, the Trading Association, go through the Small Claims Court etc.)

8) If all that fails you can go to the Small Claims Court.

Research the garage before using

The Motor Ombudsman is the self-regulatory body for the motor industry. Its voluntary membership of thousands of garages is committed to maintaining high standards covering new cars, the administration of new car warranties and car service and repair. Search their database for members who sign up to a code of practice and if things do go wrong will partake in alternative dispute resolution.

How to be smart when using a garage

Help for buying a car

Car buyers alert: how not to get fobbed off

Everything you need to know about financing your car purchase

Further help in complaining about goods and purchases

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