Graham Hill Gets Grumpy Over Crooked Dealers & Manufacturers

Friday, 9. May 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear! That was me uttering under my breath as I slip on my Mr Grumpy hat. I just read about a Fiat driver who took his car into an independent garage to diagnose a problem. The problem was a faulty turbo unit.

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The garage called a Fiat dealer and was given the price of the replacement re-conditioned part as £399 which the customer agreed to pay. However, when the part arrived it also arrived with a bill for £542 with no explanation, an increase of £140. The independent garage said that they would have to pass on the increase but provided no explanation.

After querying it Fiat explained the increase by saying, ‘Many components are improved and upgraded over time but, on this occasion, it seems the old unit was still on the system, even though it was no longer available, hence the different price.’ However, no doubt as a gesture of goodwill the customer was given £150 worth of vouchers to be used against service costs and parts over the next 12 months.

What a load of bull poo! First of all why are dealers and manufacturers so crooked and secondly why are customers so bloody naïve? There is such a thing as the Sale of Goods Act that protects buyers of goods and an Office of Fair Trading from whom you can get advice and support so why are people writing into magazines and newspapers who guess at the answers to legal problems?

Let me explain the situation we have here. Don’t confuse this transaction with walking into a shop and buying something on the shelf that has a price ticket attached. The price ticket has nothing to do with the contract of sale it is what is known as ‘An Invitation To Treat’.

The shopkeeper is not obliged to sell the item to you at the price on the ticket. It is a suggestion, you then make an offer to buy the goods at the price on the ticket and the shopkeeper normally accepts. If the shopkeeper has made a mistake when pricing his goods he doesn’t have to sell it to you at the mistaken price.

That is a fact! However, this isn’t the case with respect to the turbo unit. The independent garage entered into a contract with a Fiat dealer to supply a part for a car. The dealer agreed to supply the part and the garage agreed to pay £399 for the part, in turn agreed with the customer. That’s it, end of story, turn out the lights on your way out!

If either party fails to perform then they are in breach of contract and the aggrieved party can seek compensation. In this case, if the dealer agreed to supply a part that no longer existed that was his problem not the garage that ordered the part or the customer. If, in order to perform their part of the contract, the dealer had to supply a more expensive item he has to suffer the loss, not the garage or in turn the customer.

This is absolutely ridiculous and Fiat probably know that this is the case but have screwed the customer – it’s simply not on. When will the car industry start to act honourably but more important when will consumers wise up? Oooh I get so angry! By Graham Hill

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