Garage services

Nickyno
Nickyno Posts: 93
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edited 17 January at 8:25PM in Consumer rights
Not sure if this is the right place to post ( move if necessary)
We have been having a problem with our van not starting in cold weather.  We tried a few garages but none had any availability slots.  We need it to travel on Monday.  Anyway eventually we managed to get it booked in for this morning.  They said they would need to do a diagnostic test on it at a cost of £85.  My other half rang the garage after lunch to be told the diagnostics had showed up a few error codes and they would need to a deeper diagnostic test.  They told my other half the cost, my OH misheard the cost and he agreed and gave payment details over the phone they had started disassembling the engine.  On checking our bank we realised they had taken nearly £600. OH rang garage and they said they had said it was that amount. Since lunchtime we haven't heard back from the garage, but on googling the garage a lot of people have been ripped off through these diagnostic tests and have left bad reviews not surprisingly.  I have checked details on companies House and it shows their accounts are overdue.  Obviously we are panicking as my OH will have lost 2 days off work and paid £600 just for diagnostic work and no nearer to having a fixed van.  Is there anything we can do? Seriously panicking now.
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  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,690
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    You've paid for the diagnostic work so wait and see what the results are.

    I bet your van is not the only vehicle having problems starting in this cold spell. One of my neighbours has just got home from work and said his garage has been mad busy with emergency breakdowns all day.
  • swingaloo
    swingaloo Posts: 2,645
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    Son had a diagnostic test yesterday, our local garage did it absolutely free. Its the 2nd time his van has needed a test and on both occasions there has been no charge. 
  • Nickyno
    Nickyno Posts: 93
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    So far we're £600 + 2 days pay and no nearer to the van getting fixed.  Hence why we are panicking
  • Nickyno
    Nickyno Posts: 93
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    edited 18 January at 2:15PM
    Garage have rang, glow plugs are fried! My other half told the Garage he thought it was the glow plugs to start with. Total bill £978!!! + 2 days lost pay!!! 
    Sounds like a RIP OFF!!!
    Can we do anything?
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,855
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    edited 18 January at 3:08PM
    Nickyno said:
    Garage have rang, glow plugs are fried! My other half told the Garage he thought it was the glow plugs to start with. Total bill £978!!! + 2 days lost pay!!! 
    Sounds like a RIP OFF!!!
    Can we do anything?
    Sounds like your choices are to approve the (post-diagnostic) work or to take it elsewhere or replace them yourselves?

    If your OH was confident that it was the glow plugs then he should have just asked them to replace those (or done it himself), but the fact that he authorised diagnostic work suggests that he wasn't sure.

    I'm not sure why you keep mentioning lost pay, why would the garage have any responsibility for, or interest in, that?

    Edit: one other thing that you could perhaps try is to post on the Motoring board to ascertain if 'fried' glow plugs should be detectable without extensive diagnostic testing on the model of van concerned?  However, even if that is the case, if the diagnostic testing was authorised then there's limited mileage in pursuing that after the event....
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,690
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    edited 18 January at 3:06PM
    Nickyno said:
    Garage have rang, glow plugs are fried! My other half told the Garage he thought it was the glow plugs to start with. Total bill £978!!! + 2 days lost pay!!! 
    Sounds like a RIP OFF!!!
    Can we do anything?
    Yes  - you could learn how to fit glow plugs yourself. Easy job with a torque wrench. A set of 4 for Transit van is about £20 on eBay.

    You say the garage told your other half the price for diagnostics was £600 and he agreed to pay it. Presumably they then said we can change your glow plugs for £378 and you agreed?

    It's only a rip-off if it turns out that they didn't do the diagnostics as agreed or if they haven't fitted new plugs.
    The new plugs should last the remaining life of your van. 100,000 miles is not unusual.
  • Nickyno
    Nickyno Posts: 93
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    We have since read terrible reviews about the place.  
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,690
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    edited 18 January at 3:31PM
    Don't use them again then.

    They don't sound to be great value, but if they quoted you a firm price for the work and you agreed to it and the work was carried out to a satisfactory standard then they have not done anything illegal.

    You could give a factual review on Google or another review site. However, you say that they have terrible reviews already but it didn't put you off using them.
  • Nickyno
    Nickyno Posts: 93
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    edited 18 January at 5:21PM
    We couldn't get it in at our usual garage, nor any in our town.  Needing the van for work and travelling to work in Scotland on Monday, we went with them as they had availability and are so called "AA & RAC approved".  Only when we took the van in and there was no communication from them, we rang to be told the cost, and checking our bank and finding £600 had been charged (jumped up from £80 for initial diagnostic test) so didn't think a deeper diagnostic test would cost a further £510.  Then we googled, and was horrified to see the reviews, people being charged £900 for diagnostic tests, old people being ripped off, the garage witholding the release of vehicles. 
    We will leave an honest review and share it on social media sites.
    Hard lesson learned 😢.

    Will think of contacting RAC, AA and trading standards.
    Especially if they haven't fixed it! That is also on some reviews.
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,227
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    You can diagnose faulty glow plugs with an ordinary multimeter.
    Undo all the wires, so you're left with the terminals of the glow plugs sticking out.  Set the multimeter to ohms.  Measure the resustance between the tip of each plug and the engine block.
    Very low resistance (1 ohm or so) is good.  Higher resistance is bad.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
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