Always have a mechanic check a used vehicle before you buy it. *Bermuda Sun photo
Always have a mechanic check a used vehicle before you buy it. *Bermuda Sun photo

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aintenance and repairs of cars and bikes is an issue that we at Consumer Affairs deal with on a daily basis.

 

 

There is no shortage of complaints about the cost of repairs, quality of service, unavailability of parts and poor customer service.

 

 

If you own a motor vehicle or are considering purchasing one here are a few of our frequently asked questions that will provide you with the information you need to handle your repairs and maintenance.


 

Q: Months ago I ordered and paid for a part for my bike. On the invoice it clearly stated that this order would take no more than six weeks. However, the part is not here. Can I get my money back?

A: Yes. This business has not provided the product in a timely manner or in accordance with the delivery date as per the Agreement and a breach has occurred. Failure to refund your money is a breach of the Consumer Protection Act 1999.

Simply write to the business requesting a full refund and, according to the Act, that business has up to 30 days to refund the consumer in full.

Q: What is the difference between an estimate and a quote?

A: “Estimate” means a representation, whether written or oral, indicating the likely price that will be charged in respect of consumer goods or services.

“Quote” means a written and signed representation setting out the actual price that will be charged in respect of consumer goods or services.

Q: Is it always necessary to have a mechanic inspect a second hand car before I buy it?

A: Definitely! Don’t buy a second hand vehicle without getting a qualified mechanic to inspect it before you buy it and ask for a complete record of its service history.

Q: Should I sign off on an insurance claim on my car before I take possession of my car?

A: No! Before you take possession of the vehicle, ask the insurance claims engineer to inspect the repairs to ensure they have been done correctly.

Q: Do I need to check with my car dealership before I customize my car?

A: Absolutely yes! Customizing/detailing your car may negate the warranty agreement and can jeopardize the safety features of your vehicle.

Q: I took my car in for repairs.  While it was at the garage, the car was broken into and my stereo was stolen.  Is the garage responsible for replacing my stereo?

A:  When you take your car to a garage for repairs, the garage must take reasonable care of it.  

This is known as the law of bailment. When goods are lost or damaged, the law assumes that the bailee (the garage) has not taken care of them.  In this case the garage is responsible unless it can prove that the damage or theft was caused through no fault on its part.

The garage may attempt to restrict your legal rights by referring to a sign excluding loss or damage to cars in its possession.  They cannot deny liability unless it is proven that they did not exercise any less reasonable care than the bailor (owner of the car) would have if the car had been in his possession.

Q: I am having a problem with my car. I keep taking it in, but they either do not have the parts in stock or they have not fixed my car properly.  The mechanic and service manager have not been very helpful.  What can I do?

A: If you have not received satisfaction from the frontline people, then lodge a complaint with the customer service representative and/or the general manager.  Follow the steps outlined in the section:  “How do I file a complaint against a business or contractor” on the Consumer Affairs web site, www.ca.gov.bm.

Q: What is one of the worst things I can do to my car?

A: Not changing the oil or having it changed on time.  Oil is required to keep all parts of the engine lubricated or the engine will not run properly.  Not changing the oil can cause the oil to become thick and can clog vital engine parts.  Your car will not be fuel efficient. Do not neglect the coolant, brake, transmission and other fluid services. Have your car serviced regularly, as per the manufacturers and dealers instructions.

Q: Why does my tyre pressure matter?

A: Maintaining the correct tyre pressure helps extend the life of your tyres, improves your vehicle’s safety and improves your fuel efficiency. 

At Consumer Affairs, we offer advice to consumers, businesses and other organizations. Before contacting us we recommend that you first visit our web-site, www.ca.gov.bm and read the relevant advice. If you are unable to find the information you require on our web-site please e-mail us at consumers@gov.bm.

Honey Adams Bell is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.