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TreVoR

RDQ 24.2.2017

Fuelled by beer and a discussion in the pub.  Should I sue my TVR specialist for the engine rebuild disaster?

Background.  Car was rebuilt in 2014 and about £5k was spent on an engine rebuild (which could have bought an upgrade at the time).  Engine failed twice and was rebuilt by original builder once then sent to TVR Power for rebuild.  It failed again and I had to pay (at an apparently reduced rate) for it to be rebuilt with top hat liners despite being assured previously that the block and liners were fine.

Worth a punt in the small claims court or walk away?
Andy C

If you fuelled it with beer, of course the engine will fail.  you won't have a leg to stand on in court
BeN

Andy C wrote:
If you fuelled it with beer, of course the engine will fail.  you won't have a leg to stand on in court


Big Blue

Er......

Didn't anyone tell you at the time? I think you have enough documentation of the events so review them (when sober ) and look for the key failures of a duty of care by the rebuilder. If the first subsequent rebuild was done at the rebuilder's cost he would argue he has made reparation.

Then you have to look at the cause of the subsequent failure: again was there a failure of the duty of care? Did the final rebuild rectify something that should have been seen as a definite requirement by a reasonable mechanic in the first instance or were all his rebuilds done in the same way any other mechanic would have done?
Bryan M

I think your treatment by the specialists was atrocious, on that basis I would be tempted to claim.

It would depend on chances of success vs the effort involved, if you were going to loose large chunks of your life doing it, then i would say walk away and enjoy the car. If straightforward then give it a go.
gooner

Couple of questions:

1. Do you need the money you'd be looking to get back?
2. Do you need the hassle of going to court?

If the answer to q1 is no, then perhaps it's worth just moving on and focusing on enjoying the car. You know a lot more now about the pitfalls of the engine and how to prevent catastrophic failure, you also know who NOT to run to if things go wrong again.

If the answer to q1 is yes or it's no but, as far as you're concerned, it's the principle (and I'd totally understand if it was!), then that's where you need to ask yourself q2. It didn't do your health much good last time.
TreVoR

Andy C wrote:
If you fuelled it with beer, of course the engine will fail.  you won't have a leg to stand on in court


 
TreVoR

Big Blue wrote:
Er......

Didn't anyone tell you at the time? I think you have enough documentation of the events so review them (when sober ) and look for the key failures of a duty of care by the rebuilder. If the first subsequent rebuild was done at the rebuilder's cost he would argue he has made reparation.

Then you have to look at the cause of the subsequent failure: again was there a failure of the duty of care? Did the final rebuild rectify something that should have been seen as a definite requirement by a reasonable mechanic in the first instance or were all his rebuilds done in the same way any other mechanic would have done?


Thanks for that.  A second independent view is always useful.  When I had it rebuilt initially, it had 3 new normal liners.  When it was rebuilt the second time, it had all new liners.  I specifically asked the question whether top hat liners were needed and was told not.

When it failed for the second time, it was sent to Power.  I specifically asked the question whether the liners and block was OK and was told they were.  I had to pay for the third rebuild and the first thing I see on Power's Facebook page was a statement that all rebuilds will now have top hat liners as he was catching a cold on a "budget" rebuild he did for a customer (my specialist).  

I am even wondering whether Power did the rebuild under warranty for my specialist and he charged to me to recoup some of his losses from earlier.

Frankly, I thought I was over this, but working on the car yesterday has annoyed me.
Bryan M

The other thought I has is how you boil the technical aspects down to a level for small claims court....although the fact you paid to have the same engine rebuilt 3 times should be simple enough!
TreVoR

gooner wrote:
Couple of questions:

1. Do you need the money you'd be looking to get back?
2. Do you need the hassle of going to court?

If the answer to q1 is no, then perhaps it's worth just moving on and focusing on enjoying the car. You know a lot more now about the pitfalls of the engine and how to prevent catastrophic failure, you also know who NOT to run to if things go wrong again.

If the answer to q1 is yes or it's no but, as far as you're concerned, it's the principle (and I'd totally understand if it was!), then that's where you need to ask yourself q2. It didn't do your health much good last time.


I don't need the money, but that isn't really the point.

This would be a small claim I put in myself - somewhat different to a 3 year High Court battle with a full legal team and massive implications for me if it failed.  You don't get costs awarded in the small claims court.
TreVoR

Bryan M wrote:
The other thought I has is how you boil the technical aspects down to a level for small claims court....although the fact you paid to have the same engine rebuilt 3 times should be simple enough!


Quite.  I don't really want to go down the route of expert witnesses!
Giant

My view would be walk away. Spend the time you would chasing the claim enjoying the car/your life. But I like a quiet life so can understand you/others might think differently.
Mike Amos

If I had enough evidence I would be tempted to place that in such a place that it could be accessed by others looking for a similar service from the saddo that wrecked your engine.  OR, get the evidence together and let the oik know what you plan and suggest he come up with a very good will gesture prior to making the evidence public knowledge.  Worst case is he gets no more work but you get no financial return.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Before going to the small claims court, have you actually documented your grief and approached your "specialist" with it, in writing, possibly stating that you are ocnsidering taking legal action to reclaim some of your costs, and seeing if he is prepared to offer anything first?

My limited experience of small claims courts is that they think you should use them only as a last resort having tried to reach an amicable out-of-court settlement first.

(FWIW I have just posted off a 3-page letter detailing 5 separate complaints to Virgin Media and await their response)
TreVoR

Chris M Wanted a V-10 wrote:
Before going to the small claims court, have you actually documented your grief and approached your "specialist" with it, in writing, possibly stating that you are ocnsidering taking legal action to reclaim some of your costs, and seeing if he is prepared to offer anything first?

My limited experience of small claims courts is that they think you should use them only as a last resort having tried to reach an amicable out-of-court settlement first.

(FWIW I have just posted off a 3-page letter detailing 5 separate complaints to Virgin Media and await their response)


I've been around the block a few times when it comes to small claims and I am aware of civil procedure rules.  The first thing to do would be to send a letter outlining my intent and what he proposed to do about it.

Maybe I could have been clearer and what I should have said was, "Should I try and claim some of the money spent on the third engine rebuild from the specialist?"
Chris M Wanted a V-10

TreVoR wrote:
Maybe I could have been clearer and what I should have said was, "Should I try and claim some of the money spent on the third engine rebuild from the specialist?"

Yes, definitely try to claim.
Andy C

I'd also try and claim
Stuntman

I'm torn on this, especially without knowing all the details of your particular situation regarding the engine.  

I'm very much in favour of recouping what I might see as unecessary cash I've had to spend (especially given it's probably a large amount in absolute terms), but I would also balance that against both the time and effort involved to get there, and also any implications for future customer relationship(s) if I was planning to keep the car for several more years.

In essence: consider chalking it up to experience, but if it irks you to the point that it hinders your enjoyment of the car, then by all means make the claim regardless of the ultimate outcome.
TreVoR

The issue I have is that I feel like I have been taken advantage of. Until I get some closure, I don't think I will ever let it go. Every time I look at the car, I end up thinking about how I have been ripped off. In order to get over it, I need to do something positive.  Whether that has positive or negative results, at least I have closure.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Not necessarily ripped off, but having to pay over the odds due to incorrect or incompetent diagnosis.... if the car is now running properly with no engine issues, then a stern letter stating that you are unhappy with 3 attempts being needed for the repair, that you were expected to pay each time to put right issues caused by incorrect work previously done etc is worth a try; presumably your specialist has some form of indemnity cover in place to assist in cases where a mistake thay they make results in them having to sort out expensive rectification work ?
TreVoR

I've drafted a letter and sent it to my dad to look at.  whatever his faults, he is good at drafting legal stuff - it's where I get it from.

Dan, there is no more relationship.  I decided last year to sever ties due to feeling this way and my Land Rover man looks after the TVR.  What is the point of paying someone extra to maintain a warranty if they don't honour it?  None at all.
Roadsterstu

I'd probably be doing what you are doing - do the letter, await the (predictable) response and then seek legal advice, ending up in the small claims court. Although Id be careful not to let it effect my health, as I'm sure you have already considered.
gooner

TreVoR wrote:
I've drafted a letter and sent it to my dad to look at.  whatever his faults, he is good at drafting legal stuff - it's where I get it from.

Dan, there is no more relationship.  I decided last year to sever ties due to feeling this way and my Land Rover man looks after the TVR.  What is the point of paying someone extra to maintain a warranty if they don't honour it?  None at all.


That sounds like a wise decision. If a so called specialist is t up to the job, they don't deserve to be associated with the brand. I understand your upset at feeling taken advantage of, it's not a nice feeling. When it comes to TVRs you were, at the time, inexperienced in their foibles and it sounds like corners were cut on the basis that you would t know anything different.

As an aside to the reimbursement claim you're pursuing, I'm sure you also understand that you have a duty to your friends in the TVROC to advise them to avoid this 'specialist'.
PG

I'd also send a copy of the letter that you are sending to your specialist to Power (with a separate covering letter). As the best way of maybe getting something is to try and rope them into the claim. After all, they were either asked not to put top hat liners in to save money by the specialist (the specialist's fault); or they advised him not to bother (their fault).
gooner

PG wrote:
I'd also send a copy of the letter that you are sending to your specialist to Power (with a separate covering letter). As the best way of maybe getting something is to try and rope them into the claim. After all, they were either asked not to put top hat liners in to save money by the specialist (the specialist's fault); or they advised him not to bother (their fault).


Or more likely, judging by their FB post, they gave a quote for the work to the specialists, who then asked if they could sharpen their pencils a bit.
Mike Amos

Either way, it sounds like a plan.  It might bring them to realise the intermediary was at fault rather than a penny pinching customer.

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