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Car Servicing and Repairs - Getting it right and avoiding problems

Logo for Worcestershire Trading Standards Published Wednesday, 21st September 2022

Financially, it’s a challenging time, and running and maintaining a car is becoming more expensive.  Many of us will be tempted to put off regular maintenance and servicing for as long as possible.

Car maintenance and servicing keep your car roadworthy. Most of us will need a qualified mechanic to repair or service our car.  Understandably you will want to get the best deal you can when looking for somebody to do the work, but even though most garages are law abiding occasionally things can go wrong.

Common problems Trading Standards encounter include:

  • Failure to agree what needs to be done.
  • What it will cost
  • How long it will take
  • Poor quality workmanship
  • The fitting of faulty or poor-quality parts
  • Damage to the vehicle whilst at the garage

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Communities at Worcestershire County Council said,  “Our officers have noticed a steady increase in complaints about car servicing and repairs.  In most cases, the issues are down to a misunderstanding between the parties about what needs to be done and what it will cost.  Although we only get involved if there is evidence of criminal breaches, we are concerned that consumers and businesses may not be aware of the law or what they can do to avoid disputes. If consumers do encounter problems, they should in the first instance go back to the garage and see if the dispute can be solved amicably.  If that doesn’t work, contact the national consumer helpline 0808 2231133” 

He added: “Consumers can also protect themselves by choosing garages that are members of a body approved by the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards under their Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. Consumers can find more by visiting the Chartered Trading Standards Institute website.” 

Problems can be avoided by both consumer and business if they agree at the beginning exactly what needs to be repaired, roughly how much the work will cost and when your car is likely to be ready. A written quotation should be sought, and most garages will provide one. But they may only be able to give an estimate because, until they start work, they may not know what needs to be done. If this happens, make sure the garage will get your permission to continue working if it becomes clear that you are going to have to pay a lot more than was first estimated.

Businesses who are unsure what their legal responsibilities are can visit the Worcestershire Trading Standards Services website where they can view a range of advisory material specifically designed for businesses.