Small claims court against garage ?

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Small claims court against garage ?

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jonathan_Wickettjonathan_Wickett Forumite
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Hi, this is a 10 month long problem, so long story.

I took my Mini Clubman to my independent garage, (who I had used before on the same car without problems) back at the start of April 2019. I drove it it with a possible overheating problem, just a slight smell, not flames or smoke. 4 days later they told me some wires had burnt on the engine block, and they had fixed this, but they didn't understand why the fan wouldn't kick in. A few days later they said they had to replace the fuse box for £30.

a week later they say that the have done the fuse box, but they can't get it to fire up... it's turns over but won't start.Â* Weeks go by with no news, then they say an auto electrician has been and can't find anything wrong. Then they say they sent it to a another garage who can't find a fault. Then they say the ECU is likely to have failed due to power loss.. They disconnected the battery to do the fuse box remember.

Many more weeks go by, and eventually they suggest getting a 2nd hand ecu unit. So I find one on ebay, but they said they would find one local. They have been previously saying to me that there will be no charge to me, and that they would MOT & full service as compensation for the troubles. A week later, they send me a video of the ecu fitted and the car starting and running. So was going to organise the MOT and Full service. Then a week later they tell me that the MOT was abandoned as the ABS unit was not coded tot he replacement ECU, so would not work. Tehy would get the ecu coded. Now another few weeks went buy, and eventually I suggested they send the ECU plus the original ECU to a specialist for re-coding and pairing.

They eventually sent it off, and they guy ( who I was also in contact with separately )Â* rushed the job tested and emailed to say it was done and payment of £289 was due within 5 days. The garage failed to respond, after a week I called the garage who said they were off sick and couldn't get to their card machine at the garage. Another week went by.. no news. So I paid the ECU guy myself as I was desperate for my car back. This was October 2019! the ecu was sent with specific instructions stating that it was in test mode, and that they needed to pair with the abs unit before trying to start the car.

another week, and the garage says it still wont start. I ask about the pairing, and they had not done that. So they would wait until another garage who specialises in this would be able to come down and do it for them. Then a few more weeks later they say he has let them down and won't be able to do it til Jan 2020. At this point I'm more than angry, so I send them a long msg saying how patient I have been, and there needs to be an end to this. I state as of 20th December, that they have until 5 weeks, 1st Feb 2020 to either return my car in a fully legal roadworthy state that I can drive off in, or the value of tmy car £2950.

I get a long msg saying how great I've been about it, and they are looking to get me the full value plus compensation. Come 1st Feb, no news, then they say they are going to either claim on their liability insurance, or get a personal loan to pay me. I eventually get the insurance details, and spoke to them, they are saying that the garage have said that this is a known problem with BMW ECU's if you disconnect power, so they are saying it's not his fault! He has also now said he can't get a loan out to pay me.

So should I wait for further decisions from his insurance or send the letter before action to him now?

Thanks for reading, and any help would be great.

Jonathan Wickett

I have all these conversations and offers to pay me etc saved as chat msgs.


  • edited 16 February at 5:07PM
    EdGasketTheSecondEdGasketTheSecond Forumite
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    edited 16 February at 5:07PM
    I don't understand "this is a known problem with BMW ECU's if you disconnect power"; how would you fit a new battery then or what is supposed to happen if you get a flat battery?
    Also what would you be claiming? The entire value of your car? That plus 10 months car hire? All of that plus payment for inconvenience? If you want to get things moving; and after 10 months I expect you do, then send a letter before action but be clear what you are claiming and why.

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