How can I take an independent dealer to court?

I bought a four-year-old Renault Twingo with 31,000 miles on the clock in December 2018 for £5000. Around 26th December it began to leak oil. I contacted the garage who booked it into their preferred garage for a repair. They replaced the rocker gasket cover and resealed the engine. As I drove it home it began to sound rough and by the time I arrived home, it was very loud. I rang the garage again who said the repairer claimed I had been told the car was not ready but I had demanded they release the car to me immediately (this is an outrageous lie, why would anyone do this?). They agreed to take it back in but said if I drove it and caused damage they would not be liable, they also refused to collect it. As such they basically demanded I paid for recovery to the garage (12 miles away) who had failed to repair it once and then began to tell lies about me. I refused and sought legal advice but the solicitor said I would struggle to sue as the problem was not yet diagnosed. I took the car to Renault who diagnosed that it needed a new camshaft solenoid valve and that this was seized into the timing cover. They had specialist tools that allowed them to do the repair without removing the engine so was potentially cheaper than taking it elsewhere. I gave the garage the opportunity to pay Renault direct but they declined. The bill was £1036. I have sought legal advice again but the solicitors have raised two issues. Firstly they won’t represent me as a win would not be large enough to justify the costs (it’s a legal insurance policy I was hoping to claim against), and secondly, they do not believe I would be able to prove the problem was there at the time of purchase. I made the point that as the issue began within 30 days of purchase it was on the garage to prove it was not there. They agree but claim that as the car was MoT’d prior to sale that this would prove it didn’t have a problem.

Clearly I am £1036 out of pocket and wish to take the garage to small claims court but the legal advice has me worried. Is the advice correct? I don’t think an MoT would prove that this issue wasn’t present at sale but I’m now concerned following this advice.

Asked on 14 June 2019 by Yellabowley

Answered by Honest John
These solicitors might be operating on a no win no fee basis and want a big win rather than a paltry £1036. It's actually a Small Claim that you can make without their help. See: Give the dealer an opportunity in writing to refund the money within 21 days or you will take the matter to Small Claims. You need to send this letter by Post Office Special Delivery, keep a copy, and staple the certificate of posting to the copy so it becomes a ‘matter of record’ should you need it for the court to prove you made every effort to obtain payment before taking it to court. When making the claim, date all of the facts and present in chronological order. Don't elaborate any further than you described the events to me. Small Claims here: /
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