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  • FIRST POST
    • NessieGB
    • By NessieGB 13th Jul 17, 6:51 PM
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    NessieGB
    Garage carried out work without permission
    • #1
    • 13th Jul 17, 6:51 PM
    Garage carried out work without permission 13th Jul 17 at 6:51 PM
    Hello all,

    I'm new to the MSE forums and I am just looking for some advice on a matter. My car was booked in for an MOT today. I had spent the entire day waiting for a phone call to tell me to come pick it up or that it had failed, but received neither. I continually checked the MOT website to see if there was any updates but there was none. No pass, no fails, nothing.

    I finished work at 5:30 and went straight over to the garage before they closed at 6. my car was sat on the forecourt with the windows down and keys in the ignition, so I think to myself "maybe they've just mot'd it now".

    I approach one of the mechanics and he tells me "Oh it's not been done yet, we've just finished changing the rear springs. Wont be ready till tomorrow, looks like it should sail through it no bother though."

    I asked him how much the cost of repairs would be and he replied "You'll have to ask xxx tomorrow, after the MOT"

    Now, their are a number of things in this story that have miffed me off.

    1. I booked the car in for an MOT on Tuesday, I told him I wanted it done asap and he offered me a slot on Thursday and I told him this was fine and left. I only said I wanted the car booked in for the MOT, nothing else.

    2. The fact that they have carried out these repairs without my permission. No attempt was made to contact me and I did not give them prior consent to do the repairs.

    3. The car was never put in for the MOT that I had explicitly put it in there for. These repairs were carried out pre-preemptively, so to speak. I would be a bit more understanding had they MOT'd it and said "oh its failed on springs, do you want us to replace them?"

    Basically I'm looking to see where I stand in this whole mess. I would rather not pay for springs that I didn't ask for. I would rather them tell me, through the MOT, that the springs are broken and then fix it myself with the help of my dad at the cost of parts, some sweat and a few cold ones for the old man. But the garage has completely removed my ability to do that and will most likely give me a gigantic bill.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Page 1
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 13th Jul 17, 8:18 PM
    • 11,279 Posts
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    unholyangel
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:18 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:18 PM
    Tell the garage you didn't authorise the work so to put the old springs back in? Bear in mind I'm not a mechanic (know some basic stuff but thats it) so might not be possible but it would be the first option where it is possible.

    One thing I'd keep in mind is would the garage charge for a retest if it had failed on the springs and you had done the work yourself?

    This isn't one of the cheaper MOT places is it? Just I've found they tend to do things like this - its like they use the cheaper MOT price as a way to get customers in before stinging them on the repairs. Took me 10 years to find a garage I trust completely.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Jackmydad
    • By Jackmydad 13th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    • 496 Posts
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    Jackmydad
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    I don't know what rights you have in this situation, but I usually tell the garage I use (and trust), to give me a call if it's going to be more than a few quid for something simple or if they find something that needs doing.
    To be fair I'd probably have them do the work anyway, but I don't like them to just have a free rein. I don't like nasty shocks either.
    So far, no fails since using this place, so we shall see.
    • MrJones1
    • By MrJones1 13th Jul 17, 8:38 PM
    • 116 Posts
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    MrJones1
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:38 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:38 PM
    Before a garage carries out work on your vehicle they need to ask for your permission. If they have carried out work that you haven't authorized, you are not obliged to pay for the work that they have done.

    What you should do is to contact the garage and state that they have carried out work without your permission. The only thing they have been authorized to do is to do a MOT test, which they have not done. I understand that you are afraid that you will get a big bill but you have not "purchased" the services they have done on the car. The fault lies with the garage. Ask them politely to reinstall the old springs, which is a reasonable request. You don't have to pay for this.

    If they are not being reasonable you should get in touch with your local CAB, as they can give you the best advice.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Jul 17, 8:48 PM
    • 15,075 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:48 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:48 PM
    So, basically, they started to look at it - realised the springs would fail, ordered a pair, waited for them to be delivered, changed them... and ran out of time... A pair of rear springs is probably only an hour or so's labour.

    99% of people would rather that than have a fail, and have to book it back in.

    Did you tell them not to do ANY work if it failed? Did you actually look the car over before taking it in?
    • NessieGB
    • By NessieGB 13th Jul 17, 8:52 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    NessieGB
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:52 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 17, 8:52 PM
    To answer Unholyangel - It isn't one of the cheaper MOT places, just your typical independent garage. I had two options of MOT test centres close to my work. One was this one and the other was a National firm offering half price MOT's. I deliberately avoided the half price one, as I have heard stories about what some of them get up to, obviously my trust was misplaced.

    Thanks for the advice MrJones. My current plan of action is to go into the centre tomorrow on my lunch and tell them I want the old springs replaced. I'll be on my motorbike so will record the interaction with my GoPro just incase they start playing silly !!!!!!s. Hopefully they play fair and I can have my car back asap.

    Edited : AdrianC - I didn't authorise them to carry out any work. Had they phoned me about the broken coil springs and said "this is the price, what do you want us to do?" I would have told them either to go ahead with it, if the price was reasonable or tell them I'll collect the car and fix it myself. I do understand where you're coming from though.
    Last edited by NessieGB; 13-07-2017 at 9:02 PM.
    • Mercdriver
    • By Mercdriver 13th Jul 17, 9:08 PM
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    Mercdriver
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 17, 9:08 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 17, 9:08 PM
    So, basically, they started to look at it - realised the springs would fail, ordered a pair, waited for them to be delivered, changed them... and ran out of time... A pair of rear springs is probably only an hour or so's labour.

    99% of people would rather that than have a fail, and have to book it back in.

    Did you tell them not to do ANY work if it failed? Did you actually look the car over before taking it in?
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    I'm a bit surprised you would be happy for a garage to go ahead with work without first getting your approval and not doing what you had actually instruct them to do.

    The OP has a very reasonable cause for complaint. The OP should ask what they expect to be paid for the work and to inspect the old springs. If they have thrown away the springs, then I'd be thinking that fair exchange is no robbery bearing in mind they disposed of the OP's property without the OP's consent. This might not be the most correct way to deal with it legally, but I think the OP has some strength in his position if the garage has disposed of the springs and use it to get the cost of what they have done dowm.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 13th Jul 17, 9:10 PM
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    Richard53
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 17, 9:10 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 17, 9:10 PM
    99% of people would rather that than have a fail, and have to book it back in.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    I think that's a reasonable attitude over something like a light bulb or headlamp aim, but a pair of springs fitted wouldn't be a trivial amount. I would have expected the garage to call me for the go-ahead over something like that, absolutely.
    An hour alone spells freedom to the slave.
    • EssexExile
    • By EssexExile 13th Jul 17, 9:17 PM
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    EssexExile
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 17, 9:17 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 17, 9:17 PM
    I would find out if they were going to charge a reasonable amount or not before demanding they put the old ones back. If the work needed doing & it's been done at a reasonable price then have a go at them for doing it without permission but don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

    If you're polite about it you might even get a free MOT.
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Jul 17, 10:02 PM
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    AdrianC
    I think that's a reasonable attitude over something like a light bulb or headlamp aim, but a pair of springs fitted wouldn't be a trivial amount.
    Originally posted by Richard53
    Parts cost plus an hour's labour?

    On most stuff with trailing arms, it's as simple a job as getting the back up, disconnecting the bottom end of the damper, and dropping the arm a snidge to allow the old spring to be removed, and the new inserted. Arm back up, damper on. Job jobbed.

    If it's rear struts, it's more involved, sure. But that's unusual.
    • parking_question_chap
    • By parking_question_chap 13th Jul 17, 11:43 PM
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    parking_question_chap
    Given you asked for your car to be booked in for an MOT asap imo it is reasonable that the garage assumed that you wanted it to pass, and were ok with them doing the required work, assuming its not something crazy like replacing the whole chassis.

    If you wanted them to ignore anything that needed doing and let it fail, you should have explicitly stated this, as it certainly isnt the norm.
    • angrycrow
    • By angrycrow 14th Jul 17, 12:29 AM
    • 362 Posts
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    angrycrow
    I am in full agreement with OP here. He dropped the car off for an MOT, that is not an instruction to repair any faults. I do most of my own repairs so if my car fails I take it away fix the faults and return for a partial retest. I have only ever had one MOT fail when I ended up paying the garage to do any work on the car to pass it. If a garage did unauthorised work on one of my cars the best offer they would get is the costs I would have paid for the parts from my usual supplier and not a penny more.

    The even bigger issue in my view is that they left the car unlocked on the forecourt with the keys in the ignition for anyone to drive off in. Had the car been stolen and the keys were found to be in the ignition the garages insurance would refuse to pay. This suggests the garage have a complete lack of regard for their customers vehicles.
    • paddedjohn
    • By paddedjohn 14th Jul 17, 12:53 AM
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    paddedjohn
    You have already admitted that if they had told you it needed springs you would have asked for a price so why not relax a bit and go see how much they are charging for the job before you kick off. If not happy with the price then you can tell them to replace the old ones and I'd like to bet they will come to some sort of deal that will suit you.
    Be Alert..........Britain needs lerts.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 14th Jul 17, 2:51 AM
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    Richard53
    The OP hasn't said why they replaced the springs - perhaps they didn't tell him, or just said it 'needed' them. Were they broken (both at once, coincidentally)? Just rusty and looked in poor condition? Pain flaking off and therefore oo-er *dangerous, Sir*? A genuine cause of failure or just a bit of make-work when they thought the owner was a mug and wouldn't complain? Are the old springs available for inspection? If not, why not?


    It all sounds dodgy to me.


    If you have an agreement with a garage that work up to £xxx can be done without prior agreement, then fine. I have an arrangement like that with my local place. Without that agreement, the garage should only do when they have been requested to and nothing more.
    An hour alone spells freedom to the slave.
    • NessieGB
    • By NessieGB 14th Jul 17, 8:08 AM
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    • 2 Thanks
    NessieGB
    Taking all the feedback from this thread, I'm going to go in calmly and ask to inspect the old springs and what the price will be. If I think they're taking the mick then I'll be requesting my old one go back in. Regardless of what happens they will be getting told off for carrying out unauthorised repairs.

    On the subject of why they changed the springs, the only reason I got was "they were broken". It didn't feel like the springs were broken, the car was level at all 4 corners and it didn't make any weird noises going over bumps. But I know cars can be weird at the best of times, so will wait till I see the springs to pass judgement.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 14th Jul 17, 8:41 AM
    • 18,426 Posts
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    agrinnall
    A question for the forum: what should the OP do if the garage has already disposed of the old springs? Can they reasonably insist that the replacements are left in place but not pay for them?
    • Herzlos
    • By Herzlos 14th Jul 17, 8:57 AM
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    Herzlos
    I think you'd probably have to pay for the springs themselves, or source another pair. It's unlikely they'd be off-site by the next day though.

    I'm a bit surprised you would be happy for a garage to go ahead with work without first getting your approval and not doing what you had actually instruct them to do.
    Originally posted by Mercdriver
    I dunno, lots of garages do small bits of work for an MOT, though this is borderline. Mine calls me if it's going to be a lot of work, but I assume most people just want the car to pass.

    So should the garage have phoned? Yes, and it's worth a brief moan to the garage manager.
    Now that they haven't, would you rather they put the old springs on, failed it and let you sort it yourselves, or would you rather that they just fixed it? What if you then had to wait a couple of days for another MOT slot?
    • caprikid1
    • By caprikid1 14th Jul 17, 9:09 AM
    • 458 Posts
    • 473 Thanks
    caprikid1
    What car is it ?? I own a MK4 golf and reckon with a ramp and the right high speed spring compressors I could do the job in tops 15 minutes with a spring cost of £25.




    I agree that it was wrong to go and do it but cars seem to go through springs these days and it could be genuine wanting to get a car to pass. Wrong to do it without asking though.
    • takman
    • By takman 14th Jul 17, 10:04 AM
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    takman
    So, basically, they started to look at it - realised the springs would fail, ordered a pair, waited for them to be delivered, changed them... and ran out of time... A pair of rear springs is probably only an hour or so's labour.

    99% of people would rather that than have a fail, and have to book it back in.

    Did you tell them not to do ANY work if it failed? Did you actually look the car over before taking it in?
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    I disagree with this i definitely don't think the garage should do any work that hasn't been authorised by the customer. If they have a policy of doing work if it is less than £x amount automatically then the they should tell the customer before.

    Personally i take my car to an MOT centre that don't do repairs (except very minor stuff like replace bulbs and wiper blades). This means they have no incentive to fail the car to get more work.

    I can also source genuine parts for my car cheaper than local garages can get pattern parts for. So it would be very annoying to have to pay extra for pattern parts just because they didn't ask me before they carried out the work.
    • Kim_13
    • By Kim_13 14th Jul 17, 11:40 AM
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    Kim_13
    There are some unscrupulous garages around. It's possible that the change was not required for an MOT pass.

    Similar happened to Dad. They changed the brake pads, which hadn't long been done. When Dad asked them to show him the originals, they wouldn't produce them.

    At a minimum the OP should have been kept informed. He took the car in for an MOT, it was perfectly reasonable to expect that he would have the car back the same day. It would not take a garage long to call and ask if the OP wants the springs changing or would like the car MOT'd as is either. Even if the car had failed in the latter case, the OP would probably go back. Now he/she won't be.
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