FAQ Car repair shop - How to avoid trouble
A light comes on in the dashboard that shouldn't, you hear strange noises while driving or your car's handling has changed? You know this can be expensive and you need to visit the workshop you trust. Hand on heart - nobody likes going to the workshop. Most of the time, the car has to stay there and repairs are an additional burden on the wallet. You often hear some negative workshop stories. But what can you do as a customer if a repair has failed, is defective or more expensive than actually agreed?
Failed or defective repair - What to do?
The fault could not be completely eliminated or work was not carried out properly? Then you should report the defects as soon as possible and demand a repair. The workshop will bear the costs. Set a reasonable deadline for the repair, because only then can you assert further rights. Please note that this regulation refers to verifiable defects of the workshop. It is different if you visit a workshop because of a defect, it has been repaired and after a certain time it occurs again. If there is no evidence that the workshop has made a mistake here, this recurring defect will be charged to you, as the vehicle was running perfectly in the meantime. Therefore, when you leave the workshop, make sure that your defect has been repaired.
How does the rectification of defects work?
Have you requested a rectification of defects and your defect has still not been rectified? Unfortunately, there is no clear legal limit on the number of attempts a workshop can make to rectify a defect. A guideline from the law on sales states that after two unsuccessful attempts, the repair as such has failed. This assumes that a third attempt is unreasonable for the customer. So give the workshop at least two attempts at rectification before taking further action.
If no success is achieved even after further attempts at rectification, if the rectification was not carried out in time or even if it was refused, you can reduce the invoice or withdraw from the contract. In order to withdraw from the contract, there must be a significant defect. Only then will newly installed parts be removed and you will be refunded the money for the parts, provided you have already paid for them. However, since the workshop has already checked and investigated various causes of defects beforehand, it is usually difficult to withdraw from the contract. The analysis work carried out by the workshop was necessary and is usually also useful for the other workshop that takes over the case. Therefore, often only the reduction can be considered realistic.
You can only instruct another workshop if the deadline has passed without the other party being touched or if you receive the agreement of the first workshop. If you use a different workshop, make sure that the defect is rectified and that the removed parts are kept for a certain period of time. You may need them later to take action against the other workshop.
Compensation from the workshop?
If your vehicle is damaged or even stolen during the workshop visit, the workshop is always liable. The workshop is also liable for damage caused by employees on test drives and transfer journeys. If the motor vehicle repair conditions of the Central Association of German Motor Vehicles do not apply, the workshop is liable under the German Civil Code (BGB) for damage caused by at least slight negligence. The workshop has the burden of proof that it did not act culpably. Damage caused by a defective repair will be borne by the workshop.
Important for you: Do not leave valuables in the car when you send it to the workshop. You must leave a written note in the order stating that there are valuables in the vehicle. Otherwise you will be liable yourself.
The bill - what you need to know
You have received a binding cost estimate and set off to the workshop with the corresponding amount to collect your beloved vehicle - but then you see the bill. It's much higher than the binding estimate would have suggested. What now?
It can happen that an estimate is slightly exceeded because screws were not properly taken into account or other small costs were added. A rule of thumb is that the estimate should not be exceeded by more than 15%. If this is the case and you were not informed about the costs, you have the right to claim damages. If the actual invoice exceeds the cost of materials and the extra work was both useful and in your interest, you must pay the material costs. Wage costs, on the other hand, can be reimbursed through compensation. In principle, the following applies: As soon as the repair shop can estimate that the repair will exceed the cost estimate, it must inform you about the additional costs. You can then decide whether you want the work on your car to continue or whether you want to cancel the repair contract. Any work that has already been done must still be paid for. Some companies have specific procedures in this regard. Some send video updates where the mechatronics engineer explains to you what the problem was, what was done and if any new defects were found, these are explained. Such means of communication are becoming more and more popular, as you can understand what exactly happened and previously unknown or commissioned work is also explained in more detail. You will then receive a suitable cost estimate and can order or cancel further repairs with the click of a mouse.
Composition of the invoice
Bear in mind that when you commission a garage to repair a defect, you are entering into two contracts. On the one hand, diagnostic work must be carried out to find the fault, and this must finally be rectified. Usually, the troubleshooting is ordered first in order to get an estimate that is as accurate as possible. The troubleshooting is then the second part of the service. If you do not order the troubleshooting, you will still be charged for the diagnostic work.
Trust your workshop and ask exactly what is being done to your vehicle and whether you will receive intermediate results. That way, you will always know exactly what has just happened and won't have to fear a rude awakening. If you keep this in mind, you don't have to be shy about your next visit to the workshop because you will be well informed.
Have a good trip and don't have to go to the workshop again too soon. If you are looking for a parking space, always remember - you will always find one at McParking.