Car trouble

I thought that the days of rogue cowboy garages was over but I was wrong. After having two clutches in quick succession, fitted by Lee Hire in Brighton they told me that I had burnt the clutches to a crisp and that the car would not go into gear because the gear box was  faulty. They suggested that I “pass” the car and its problems on to an unsuspecting buyer and I should buy an automatic car as it would be better for a woman of  my age!</p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”><strong>I then found out that Lee Hire had fitted the wrong clutch.</strong>  I thought i would share with you all, the action I have now taken. So here is the copy of the letter I have sent to Lee Hire, telling the story and asking them to repay the costs</p>

Dear Sir,

Re: Volkswagen Golf W382 UMO

The clutch went on my car was on 2 December 2011 and I phoned my breakdown service Smart Assist. They called your company, Lee Hire to assist me. As my usual garage was unable to carry out the work for a few days I agreed to have my car towed to your garage Lee Hire to carry out the work. The clutch was replaced and you charged me £326.33, the invoice dated 2/12/2011..

The clutch went again on 8 February 2012 and I had the car towed back to you as you had fitted the clutch 2 months previously and I felt the clutch you had fitted must be faulty.  At that time you advised that it was my fault and that I had burned out the clutch.  I have submitted a statement from an expert witness, Mr John Emerson, my mechanic that has repaired my cars for 30 years, who states that in all the years he has known me I have not been prone to riding the clutch, and that I have not had to have repeated clutch replacements.

You replaced the clutch again and because I complained that I thought the clutch must have been faulty or you had incorrectly fitted it you reduced the cost charging me £263.67, claiming that the reduction was due to the suppliers discretion.  After a few days I became concerned as I could not put the car into first or second gear and furthermore the clutch pedal did not go down to the floor, making it difficult and even dangerous to drive.  I took it back to you and one of your mechanics drove it around the block.  He agreed that it was terrible but said there was no adjustment available on the clutch as it is a hydraulic system and he thought that the gearbox was irreparably damaged.  He stated at the time that it was not my fault. He also advised me to sell the car and pass the problem on to someone else.

I then went to Caffyns, the Volkswagen specialist, for a vehicle check. They confirmed my findings that when the car was warm it would not go into first gear or reverse and the clutch pedal did not go down to the floor.  They thought that the master cylinder needed replacement and told me that the good news about the master cylinder was that there was no air in the system.  They could not tell without taking the clutch out, if this would solve the problem. They could not see any problem with the gearbox. I paid £61.99 for the vehicle check.

I went back to my mechanic, John Emerson, who then took the car back to my usual garage, Brighton MOT Centre. They conferred and agreed that the master cylinder was not faulty because if it had been, there would be no pedal at all. There was also no evidence of air in the system.

They found that your Company had used the wrong clutch.  I have enclosed a letter from this garage as another expert witness statement to corroborate this.  I have kept the clutch as evidence if you would like to see it. You had also cannibalised the first clutch and used the pressure plate in the second repair, presumably that was why you were able to reduce the second bill.

It is Lee Motors who are at fault. Your mistake in fitting two wrong clutches has caused me many problems. I came back to you after the second wrong clutch was fitted and you said there was nothing you could do.  In view of this I would ask you to pay me the following for the work I have had to pay to other garages in order to rectify your mistakes.

Brighton MOT Center bill of                                                                           446.15

Caffyns bill of                                                                                                   61.99

Payment to Mr Emerson for all his time spent diagnosing the

correct fault and liasing with Brighton MOT Center                                        100.00

Loss of income for 2 weeks as unable to call on clients                                180.00

(Care worker – clients are in Peacehaven, Haywards Heath)


Total                                                                                                               788.14

f you do not pay the money by 15<sup>th</sup> March 2012 I will issue a county court claim against you.

Yours faithfully

Mrs V G Pirie

Cc.  *  Share Assist Breakdown cover       * 1<sup>st</sup> Assist Insurance        *  Trading Standards

Well, I don’t see how they can deny that they have caused this fiasco especially as I have kept the wrong clutch as proof.  They obviously thought I was just a daft blonde of a certain age who didn’t know a big end from a water pump! I may be blonde and over 40! but I’m certainly not  stupid.

Watch this space and I’ll let you know what happens.