Where do we stand?

Mar 14, 2005
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We bought a 4 yr old Hobby in Sep and wanting it to look like new towed it to an authorised repairer to have some minor work done inside. 2 weeks ago the firm rang to say our van had been damaged by a storm!It needed a new side but they would be prepared to try and fix it if we'll settle for compensation. we drove over 100 miles to go and look at it and spoke to the owner the following week. the new side is approx £3.500, however they would repair the hole and dents and give us £1500 compensation. After deliberation we decided to accept the compensation in the hope that the side was repaired well. this week We get a tel call to say deal is off! The manager shouldnt have offered us any money as compensation. I've argued we have a verbal agreement and we'd also agreed that we won't pay for the inside work approx £400 with the manager and I've been told they cant do it. Any ideas where I stand, what we should do? I've said I want the van by end of Feb and I've been told i will have to wait until its done!
 
May 21, 2008
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Firstly your big mistake was not to get the agreement in writing. (you probably already realise that now as hind sight is a wonderful tool). However your repairer has no doubt got responsibility to do the repair as the damage to the outside of your van happened at his premsies. You should go to citizens advise and take to firm to court if they won't put the van back to the same condition that it was in when it arrived at their workshop. I once had a simlar problem with a car which was being repaired at an authorised repairer. They completely botched the repair and after a very heated discussion including threat of court action, my insurer agreed to allow the car franchise dealer to repair it. This then cost so much that the insurer was trying to write it off, but I explained to them that it was their own fault that the cost's had spiraled and then they allowed repair. I'm afraid you're going to have to get official and angry with your repairer, as it seems that it is the only way these people remember their responsability to us the customer. I supose it's the "couldn't give a s**t" attitude we live with these days that is the problem. Good luck.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Not a simple one this but several thoughts occurr. 1. How can a manager not be authorzed to offer compensation. 2 Did you sign an authority for the work to be carried out, if you did are there any conditions. Check your insurance it should cover the van whilst in for repair and this may solve your problems as they may take over the trouble with your van. I would possibly look to a solicitor for advice but note that he is likely to reccomend legal action and this may take time & money plus you may still not win. Dont't know this helps or hinders but it's just thoughts going thro my head
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Under the legal system in this country at present a verbal agreement is binding in a court of law except for the sale of property or land. You therefore have entered into a verbal contract which is binding in law. The problem being is that it is your word against theirs. However I assume you have in writing that the verbal agreement will not be honoured. This would be confirmation that a verbal agreement was initially entered into. I would suggest that you write to them, posted by recorded delivery, and insist that the caravan be repaired as originally agreed and within the agreed deadline. Inform them in your letter that should they renage on this, you will place the matter in the hands of your solicitor with instructions to act accordinly in the small claims court and that any further legal charges would be met by them. Good luck but do not be intimidated by them - stand firm as, in my opinion, you have a cast iron case against them
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I AGREE WITH STEVE THAT YOU SHOULD GO TO THE CITIZENS ADVICE, BUT I WOULD ALSO POINT OUT TO YOUR REPAIRER THAT THE VAN SHOULD BE COVERED BY HIS INSURANCE WHILE ON HIS PREMISES, IF HE SAYS HE HAS NO INSURANCE THEN REPORT HIM TO TRADING STANDARDS. GOOD LUCK
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Sam, All other advice is sound, you don't say who the dealer is authorise by? and who recommended the dealer. Point of law they have to have insurance inc public liability. My son had the same problems with a car at a garage booked in for work, as he had only purchased 1 day earlier. Car stolen and burnt out the garage was liable, they did a deal full purchase price even though he did not buy the car from them. Reason for deal they didn't have to inform Insurance company. Repercussions of Ins Co would have been worse for them!!!! It doesn't seem a good deal to me, as you don't know how good a job they would have done or how long it would have lasted. Also get in touch and explain what happened and damage, see what they say, and check your policy too! Hope you get it sorted, let us all know what happens.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I think Tony's hit the nail on the head, the reason they have reneged on the original offer is because they probably first thought that repairing the van and compensating you was the cheaper option, but then realised the cash offer would not be covered by the insurers. A verbal contract is as binding as a written one; however, if a reasonable alternative offer is given the courts may feel you have wasted there time and may not rule in your favour. They won't look at what you were offered but whether what you are now be offered is fair and to be honest, if they repair the damages the courts will see this as enough. What you really need to focus on is, has the damage to the van caused you an inconveniance, like the return of the van will be delayed longer then agreed, you will miss a holiday etc these thing you can claim against the the repairs will be able to recup that from their insurers. I do understand were you coming from, but the repairer will want to make as little loss as possible, and are they realy been unfair?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Sam. Sorry to read of your problems. I think this point may have already been inferred by other respondents but to reinforce it, whilst your property is under the control of a company, they have an absolute duty of care to ensure it is not damaged or degraded. Your caravan has been damaged, and you have an absolute right to expect it to be returned to you in the condition in which you left it. The company should carry full insurance just in case of situations like this. Provided you are satisfied that they can undertake a repair, and you are prepared to leave the van with them, then instruct them in writing to effect a repair. Point out that the damage was endured whilst the caravan was in their care and they are entirely responsible for it. some important pointers though, Be honest, keep records of all contact preferably in writing, and also do not expect the caravan to be returned as new they are only obliged to repair to supplied condition. Discuss with them a reasonable time scale and keep them to it. If they do not lay ball, do not hesitate to contact Trading Standards CAB or a solicitor or even the county court and ask about small claims.

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