Taking someone to court

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gypsy
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by gypsy » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:27 am

I have just to get the court order, as that gives the reasons for why I won, then I am free to let people know, what I have been through. The guy is still trading and has a glossy ad in Hayburner, so yes others maybe drawn in.


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gypsy
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by gypsy » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:31 am

I am planning to write a guide on how to go through the process as there are many many pitfalls, and stalling tactics used, with the only intention to discredit you and to get off with illegal consumer practices. I could have done with an idiots guide on how to do this.

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vwJim
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by vwJim » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:26 pm

Any update?
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by type21f » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:53 pm

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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by Rocket Ron » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:39 am

Still happens, friend of mine lost between £12-15 grand, cut the van up in the end....
Sometimes when you have set the benchmark, the only one you have to beat is yourself !


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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by gypsy » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:20 pm

Sorry its been ages since I have trawled through the SSVC and reply. I won the court case. It was against Mark Robinson of Dubwise Vintage VW werks of Fraddon Cornwall, from what I can see from his social media he is no longer in business.
Of course it wasn't financially worth it, from his point of view and mine, but the satisfaction of getting back at somone who has FKTD you about is priceless.

Here is a short guide I wrote for VW Camper and Comercial

Title
I'll see you in court!

Byline
Words and Photographs; Gary Lemin

Body text
I brought a South African 'Fleetline' and had the body work restored by East Coast Classics in SA before the bus was imported to the UK. To cut a long story short; the job was late, unfinished, and the work that had been done fell far short of what I had been promised from East Coast Classics in SA there are pictures of the restoration on another thread.

Not wanting to drag it out with ECC, I looked for someone local to me in Cornwall who I could keep tabs on, and who came recommended.
I was recommended by a local VW dealer to a specialist VW Restoration business. His advert in Hayburner claimed 30 years experience. I called other restorers, who were too busy for the next few months. This guy wasn’t. My first mistake! In hindsight, there was a reason why he wasn’t busy (he's sht).
He inspected my bus and showed me photographs of his work. We agreed on an 8 month timescale and a rough estimate of price. I was happy... For the last time.
Three years on and my Fleetline is in a terrible state, I have spent 18 months taking this guy to court and have finally won. Was I gullible? Was I naive? Did I deserve to be ripped off? Obviously if I had the ability to take the garage to court and win i would say no, but good common sense would have saved me from all of this. However, there is something very rotten in the VW Scene. Unfortunately there are some who have no idea of customer service or the law and for some of us who are new to all of this its all to easy to fall prey to criminals.
The garage in South Africa continues to claim world class service they provide. Yet I know many others that have had poor service from them. The garage in Cornwall as far as I know has ceased trading. So in light of my experience and in an attempt to help others, here is a short guide to my experience.

You should try to avoid going to court in the first place. The best way to do this is to have a contract where you set out clearly what needs to be done; eg restore vehicle and MOT it, an approximate cost and an approximate time. With a caveat that if any party veers off, then another agreement will be made, or the contract is broken. I had a very simple one, but it proved invaluable in my case of professional negligence. Make certain to keep a record of any conversations, via text or emails. This is essential, if you have a conversation, back it up with an email to confirm it.
Assuming you have a contract that has been well and truly broken, and your complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
You might want to speak to the CAB regarding the law and trading standards. Although I found that Trading Standards were very negative, they felt that because the car was off the road, it was difficult to prove in a criminal court that there had been any wrong doing. My only course of action now was my own civil case.
One important thing ! Do not rectify any bad work at this stage, as the court will need to appoint an independent accessor so that the judge can get a clear independent picture of the faults. If you fix the work you destroy the evidence. I left my Bus in limbo for 1 ½ years.
I used the Small claims track as it was under 10’000 pounds and also did not need solicitors with the added costs.
Again try to resolve this amicably and record all conversations. State your grievance clearly in writing and why you feel your consumer rights have been trashed. Do all of this in letters that begin; 'without prejudice', as anything said in them cannot be used against you in court. Theoretically this should take about a month. Always use registered mail.
Ensure that you have evidence to back up your claim, just because are unhappy, doesn’t mean that anyone has broken the law. I used two different garages to inspect the work and sent him their reports.
You won't be able to claim this back as it isn't the official court report, but these reports help build your case.
If the garage still refuses to help or in my case ignores you, send an official 'Open letter of claim' where you state very clearly your grievance. You must then give them 28 days to respond with either arbitration, or an agreement you are happy with or it's time to go to court. Again, send this registered mail. You can include an 'official issue of claim' form downloadable from the Moneyclaim.gov website to show you are serious.
If there's still no response, it's now time to start the legal process. Nothing until now is official, anything previous is just you and the garage exchanging words. Using the money claim website, pay £400 issue a claim. Now is a very good time visit a solicitor on one of those free consultations, to ensure that all of your ducks are in a row.
You still must give the guy chance to make reparation, and to go through an arbitration service. You should attach as PDFs to the moneyclaim, any relevant documents that support your case. (A solicitor will ensure this is done correctly), to make certain that your claim is clear. In building your case, you need to have things like contracts / expert witness reports / receipts / and evidence of conversations that prove your case. Your word against his is not going to cut it. The claim papers then have to be served separately by you. At this point my garage played dumb and refused to sign for them. You can come up with an ingeneous way of handing them the document. The court will then confirm the claim has been issued and it's now up to him to make his defence. You will receive a copy of his defence within a month.
When you've made your claim and he has sent his defence, you will get a court date.

Interestingly, his attitude changed in predictable stages, with complete denial for the first 3 months, then ignoring / Forest Gump mode for the next 3 months and then all of a sudden he became the expert again and I was just a serial problem client.
Through these stages, its very important you must resist going public in social media and slinging mud, as this will damage your case. Tell folk what happened, but mention no names.
There will be an initial hearing, where the judge will decide if the court is required, and what evidence you need to provide for him. He will probably ask for an independent expert report. I had previously spent money on 2 reports, but only the one demanded by the court was used. At this point, you pay £430 for the final court hearing. I was sent a court order for an evidence pack, which provides the chance to supply every last piece of information relevant to the case. I failed to include a receipt for parts I had bought, and his solicitor saw that as a weakness, and his defence was built around the that fact. I was so angry with myself for not including that.
There's no need for a solicitor in Small Claims Court, but the garage brought one. It may be wise to bring one, but you can't claim back the cost of a legal team. In court I had no clue about what to expect, and did not perform as well as I should have. However I kept the case to basic principals of really poor workmanship, unfinished and late and I had proof that he'd told me that the work was finished to UK MOT standards.
In the court, his solicitor grilled me as if I was a lying fool, but that’s his job. I had no idea that it would be up to me to question the defendant. I wish I had had 20 questions fully prepared. Its not like Judge Judy. You must work out what angle you are going to use, what evidence you have and write your questions down. Don't just wing it, like I did. My best one was when his definition of the word done was “all the bits were there, just not together”
And so I won, the Judge ruled that the job had been messed up, “spectacularly so”. I was awarded fair damages, and with the parts I had bought, I’m about even.

Box out
I now have a bus that is 3 years behind schedule and the defendant has a ruined business and reputation. However in this journey I've met some genuine people. There are good guys out there, but there are cowboys as well. The onus really is on owners to shine the light on these people.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any help with the process.
Last edited by gypsy on Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.


Rocket Ron
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by Rocket Ron » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:09 pm

Nice one, bit late for some but I'm sure this will help.
If there was a book of the good guys, the bad guys would go out of business...

Now get the van done..
Rocket Ron.
Sometimes when you have set the benchmark, the only one you have to beat is yourself !

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vwJim
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by vwJim » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:18 pm

Do you have photos of the work that was below standard?
Supplying quality in house designed items plus parts from SyncLink, Kennedy Clutches, & CB Performance. Also fitting service including modifications & mechanical upgrades.


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gypsy
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by gypsy » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:06 pm

I will upload the report !


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gypsy
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by gypsy » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:19 pm



Rocket Ron
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by Rocket Ron » Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:51 pm

Yes, that looks bad......done by someone with very little mechanical knowledge, a failure to finish one job before you move onto the next, perhaps a rush job, but either way it's best he closed.
Sad though it is, there is nothing stopping him from starting somewhere else........
Sometimes when you have set the benchmark, the only one you have to beat is yourself !


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gypsy
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Re: Taking someone to court

Post by gypsy » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:35 am

This wasn't a rush job, it was 8 months late from the initial agreed 8 month completion date. You hit the nail on the head with the observation failure to complete anything, and to moving from 1 job to another before finishing anything, leaving everything in a faulty condition. Beggars belief really from a VW mechanic / engineer with 30 years experience.

What I found really disappointing from my point of view was I had no back up from Trading Standards. They went out to see the guy and just said he needs to do better next time and it would be difficult to bring this to court. This left all this up to me to sort out when there are very clear consumer laws that protect me from this. So I eneded up with 3 years of this. What a waste of time and effort, mine and his !

The moral of this is "don't get mad get even"

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