sued for faulty part

Self employed Mechanic unknowingly was supplied with a fault part from supplier he has used for years. The part has now gone on to cause further damage to the car. Mechanic informed the supplier who are blaming the manufacturer. Mechanic has now received  a Solicitor letter, saying they are suing him for £6k. Mechanic informed his insurer and has again informed the supplier who are now ignoring his calls. Who is actually to blame and how can it be proved it was a faulty part.


  • CliveOfIndia
    CliveOfIndia Posts: 1,193
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    edited 13 November 2023 at 1:11PM
    If the mechanic has professional indemnity insurance, which it sounds like he has, then he just needs to pass all correspondence to his insurers and let them sort it out.  That's what his insurance is for.
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,337
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    edited 13 November 2023 at 12:54PM
    Absolutely, stay out of it and let the insurance companies argue about who is liable and for what - it's why you pay for insurance in the first place. 

    You (as Mechanic) might be asked by your insurer to make some statement that the fault with the part was not apparent on inspection of the part and in your professional opinion the damage to the car was caused by the part rather than misuse or similar; but otherwise pass any correspondence from the customer to your insurance contact. 

    Avoid talking to the supplier about it in case it muddies the water down the line (which is probably what the supplier has been advised to do, hence ignoring the calls). 
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • Wonka_2
    Wonka_2 Posts: 610
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    A bit more clarity needed - presumably in this story the 'mechanic' is you/partner ?

    Is 'self employed' a one man band/no premises operation or works as self employed in a garage ? 

    Has the faulty part been returned for examination and who is the solicitors letter from (customer with broken car ?)

    As @CliveOfIndia suggests this is where the mechanics insurance kicks in - he/she does have insurance for this ??

  • Hi folks, yes the mechanic is my partner. he does have indemnity insurance/insurance. He's a limited company and works in a rented garage. the faulty part s far as i'm aware is with the customer. solicitor letter from customers solicitor
  • What's the timeframe between part being supplied and customer noting an issue with the mechanic OP?
  • About 2 weeks
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,314
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    edited 13 November 2023 at 1:43PM
    jess12345 said:
    About 2 weeks
    Thanks OP, it's a bit of a mess and as the others said the mechanic is best letting their insurance deal with the matter

    As general musings, assuming the price for the part was itemised this would be a supply of goods.

    If the customer wanted a refund for the part (within 30 days) it would be down to them to show on the balance of probability the part was "faulty".

    If they wated a repair/replacement that would be down to the mechanic to show it wasn't "faulty"

    In terms of the damage caused to the customer's car, the customer is saying the goods did not conform to the contract and as a result of that breach s/he suffered costs which they are looking to reclaim as (the legal term) damages. 

    Whether the 
    mechanic agrees the part was "faulty" plus also caused the extra damage hasn't been said.

    If the 
    mechanic does agree on both points then it would seem the customer's claim is valid. If the mechanic disagrees burden of proof for the goods is as above, for seeking damages I'm not sure where burden of proof lies.

    I would assume your customer has a claim with you, you in turn have a claim with your supplier, who has a claim with their supplier and so on until it reaches the manufacturer. 

    The customer as a consumer has a lot of rights implied as part of the contract but the 
    mechanic's contract with their supplier is B2B and the terms would have to be checked as they may perhaps exclude certain liability.

    Hopefully if the customer's claim is valid the insurance will pay out and deal with reclaiming the money from whoever they think should pay.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,158
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    If the mechanic has professional indemnity insurance, which it sounds like he has, then he just needs to pass all correspondence to his insurers and let them sort it out.  That's what his insurance is for.
    PI covers you giving bad advice, the OP would be claiming on their Product Liability insurance, normally bundled into their Public Liability insurance for SMEs for physical damage caused by a defective product/part supplied. 

    They should just leave the matter to their insurers who'll look at the contracts between the relevant parties and decide if the supplier or manufacturer can be called as co-defendants or if he has signed contracts that hold them harmless. 
  • Thanks so much for your replies. All now been passed to the insurer to deal with. So fingers crossed. 
    In 18 years of trading this is the only complaint made against him.
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