Wednesday, 25th July 1990
Last updated Wednesday, 25th July 1990
Hello Justine, I hope this reaches you as I am having difficulty with a particular garage in South Devon and I know in the past you have had a great deal of success in resolving problems. The basis of the incident is:
Whilst on holiday in South Devon I had a problem with my car. I called out the Breakdown service and they told me that they thought the head gasket had gone. I contacted a local garage in Newton Abbott and the car was delivered to them. They had the car for 3-4 days and when returned it informed me that the head gasket had been repaired and a new radiator fitted. They presented me with a bill for £403.00 which I paid. The following day I drove home to North Devon and the car appeared to have similar problems as previously. I contacted the same garage and arranged for the car to be delivered back to them for further investigation. After a further 4-5 days I was told that a new/reconditioned engine would have to be fitted as the problem was not as originally thought and was now believed to be a crack in the engine. I asked wether I had actually needed the original work done and was told that when the head gasket had been taken off there was in fact no actual damage to be seen but they had been working through a process of elimination.........At this point alarm bells began to ring because I was concerned about paying the original bill for unnecessary work originally carried out. However they assured me that the costs would be kept to a minimum and labour charges would be greatly reduced. Eventually they returned my car to me and charged me a further £550.00. Again I paid this and thought that would be the end of the problem. However, yesterday I was on my way out and a loud clanking sound from the engine suddenly appeared. I pulled over and switched the engine off. Upon trying to start the engine it failed completely. Again I called out the breakdown service and within minutes he informed me that it was the cam belt tensioner which had failed. He also stated that when fitting a reconditioned engine this should have been checked. I telephoned the garage once again and told them of my problem. They admitted that with hind sight the cam belt cover should have been taken off and checked but it hadn't been. Unfortunately the engine was out of it's 10 day warranty by 1 day, (although I had not had the car back for 10 days, and had only done about 70 miles in it since) The parts needed were priced up, excluding labour i'm told, and have been quoted a further £250.00 to repair the damage caused. I am totally reliant on my car, need it back as soon as possible so have agreed to them repairing it but I can't help feeling I've been taken for a complete ride over this situation and wonder if there is any way in which you can help me. I would be happy to discuss this on air with you if necessary and would be grateful for any help and advice you can give me. The garage is supposed to be delivering my car back tommorow afternoon and I will be expected to settle the account at the time. Please, can you help me and is there anything I can do??