Who should pay for the work to repair our car?

Prior to setting off on what he expects to be his last long trip to Ireland, my 86 year old father arranged to have his four-year-old Toyota Yaris – which has only done 9000 miles – serviced at a local Toyota dealership.

The service included changing the brake fluid, but while this routine procedure was carried out, it seems that all did not go to plan, since a few days into his trip in rural Ireland, the brake warning light lit up on the dash. A village garage found a fluid leak from around the bleed nipple on the driver’s side rear wheel. As no genuine parts would have been available for at least 48 hours, the garage obtained and fitted a proper brake clamp to the rubber hose supplying fluid to the wheel in question. They advised that it was safe to continue on his journey providing that he drove at a reduced speed, which he did and so returned home in one piece.

Once back home, my father returned his car to the dealership that had carried out the service and explained what had happened. The garage said they could get the necessary parts within 24 hours but it would be 12 to 13 days before they could carry out the work which would be at my father’s expense.

Needing the car for another journey and concerned that it was not safe to drive, my father contacted another dealer 30 miles away who agreed to do the job the following day for a total cost of £128.08. A copy invoice has been submitted to the original dealer, who said they would consider the matter. We would value your opinion as to what action we should take to recover the cost of £128.08 which we feel we are entitled to. For information, we have the displaced brake cylinder in our possession.

Asked on 25 July 2019 by Angela Hughes

Answered by Honest John
You need to send a letter to the dealer principal of the Toyota dealer that carried out the service. State that it became apparent that in changing the brake fluid the dealer's mechanic damaged the rear bleed nipple. State that a temporary repair was made. State that when the car was returned to the dealer you were told that the dealer could not correct its poor and dangerous workmanship for 12 to 13 days, forcing you to have the repair made elsewhere at a cost of £128.08. You are giving the dealer 14 days to refund this £128.08 or you will take the matter to Small Claims. Send your 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’ so you can show the court you made every effort to reasonably resolve the matter before going to law.
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