Citizens Advice

Dodgy garages: how to complain and get what you want

Dodgy garages

Hard at work under the bonnet. Trouble is, you asked him to fix the suspension. Find out how to deal with a garage that doesn’t do what you asked

Thanks to a few dodgy traders, it’s reasonable to say garages don’t have the best reputation in the eyes of most car owners. The vast majority of mechanics are fair and honest. But over time, a small proportion have tarnished the industry’s image.

There are many ways you can end up out of pocket after dealing with a garage. They might damage your car while it’s in their care. They may charge you for work that you haven’t asked for. Or they might return your car with the problem fixed and another one introduced.

If you’re unlucky enough to encounter a problem with a garage, there are some steps you can take to ensure you don’t end up out of pocket. With the help of Citizens Advice we look at problems and solutions.

The problem: a garage overcharges you

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New Motor Ombudsman: Complaining drivers get an impartial middle man

Motor Ombudsman

Many drivers say they find dealing with garages baffling and intimidating

Drivers with a complaint about a garage or car dealer can now go to the new Motor Ombudsman. This is the first time the motor industry has had a dedicated ombudsman. It means drivers who think they’ve been short changed by a motor trader can get impartial advice. And in extreme cases, they will have an unbiased middle man to help negotiate a reasonable outcome to a dispute.

The Motor Ombudsman will deal with complaints over new and used cars. It covers sales, servicing, repair, and warranty problems. It has a code of practice regulated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and it’s been set up because the number of drivers complaining about their treatment at the hands of the motor trade is still unacceptably high.

Why do drivers need a middle man?

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Your rights when buying a car or motorbike

You still have rights, even when you buy an old nail like Del Boy's Reliant Regal.  (Picture © Beaulieu)

You still have rights, even when you buy an old nail like Del Boy’s Reliant Regal. (Picture © Beaulieu)

Consumers complain about cars more than any other item, according to Citizens Advice. Typically, the consumer body receives over 45,000 grumbles a year, with just over two thirds relating to used cars.

However, few of us know the law or what it entitles us to if we’re not entirely satisfied. Read on to find out what you can and can’t ask for if things go wrong.  Continue reading