Cowboy servicing - Big Vern
My Father has just been stung by our local independent garage, who until now has been well trusted.
Upon requesting (verbally) for an MOT prep with brakes for his ageing 2.0 GSi primera, (N.Ireland MOT's are conducted by official government run centres not local garages as on the mainland) and specifically declining any washing, oil, filters etc (due to DIY servicing) He gets an additional £86 parts + VAT & £30 + VAT labour bill for a full service, they even replaced a 6 month old fuel filter!
He paid by cheque, as they would not release the car until paid.
The owner accepted there had been a mistake but would not reduce the bill. Other than reporting to trading standards, what (if anything) can he do?
Re: Cowboy servicing - Derek
Ask the garage if they made so much from the 'sting' that they can afford to lose his future custom. They should do or give your dad something by way of apology. Unless they are the only garage for miles around, of course.
Re: Cowboy servicing - Mark (Brazil)
If they are normally trustworthy, maybe they just screwed up once.

Would it be fair to assume that the car needed a service, albeit that he would have done it himself ?

Is the parts bill reasonable ? I have no idea, but it doesn't sound that much to me. Maybe he just "lost" the 30 quid labour money.

Other than my comments, the only redress is probably as per Derek's comments. Tell him to write to the local rag letters page and copy the Garage owner. That normally shifts thing in small local area.
Re: Cowboy servicing - crazed
small claims summons for the amount overcharged, almost certain youll win

possible criminal case of extortion if refusing to release car when demanding more than was agreed... police could be notified if you can be bothered with the hassle
Re: Cowboy servicing - Mark (Brazil)
>>small claims summons for the amount overcharged, almost certain youll win

Not so sure. That's why I asked whether or not it needed a service and whether or not the price of parts was reasonable.

I wouldn't bet on him getting more than 20 quid out of it, if that.

Of course, if the price was unreasonable or the work didn't need doing, that may be a different matter.

I'd go with the local rag myself.
Re: Cowboy servicing - Big Vern
As per my original post, my fathers car has a DIY oil, oil filter and air filter service every 5k miles without fail, the fuel filter was approx 6 months old, I would have to ask him about the plugs. The only reason the car was with them at all was that it needed a CV joint and with the weather as it is at the minute I was not prepared to attempt that and he is recovering from major heart surgery. For the same reason they were asked to do front and rear pads. This is why they were specifically told not to do a service. Besides how many garages replace the fuel filter as part of a basic service, these parts are certainly not replaced every 10k miles!!!

My main reason for the post is the issue that it comes down to his word against the garage owner and I want to know if there is any recourse? ( I think I already know the answer, hence my anger!!)
Re: Cowboy servicing - sam
if they werent asked to do the work, and refused to hand the car back without paying for work which was not authorised

i) this is criminal extortion
ii) small claims summons is an easy way to recover the money at minimal cost to you (assuming they choose not to go bust etc)

Re: Cowboy servicing - Dave N
Most garages ask you to sign a sheet outlining work to be carried out. But I guess in this case it didn't happen. A lesson to us all.
Re: Cowboy servicing - Big Vern
If you insist on providing a sheet of paper with specific instructions, you really need to take a copy away with you signed by the service manager to ensure they don't 'lose' their copy, if you do this they are likely to take the attitude that you are an a**hole and go out of their way to do a crappy job, as obviously this is what you are expecting, dammed if you do, dammed if you don't
Re: Cowboy servicing - David W

If I'd made a *genuine* mistake and done something similar I'd offer to waive the labour and reduce the parts prices to the trade levels I had paid.

From the way you relate this it doesn't sound like a mistake, particularly as the guy is demonstrating a poor attitude to the customer in refusing to concede at all.

Sometimes in life it is best to walk away from these things as a superior human and just resolve to tell all you mates the story.

Life's too short and all that.


Value my car