Legal Article - Business Law

Getting the Wording Right in your Paperwork

Within the course of servicing and repairs certain items will be supplied to the customer with descriptions attached. An exhaust may be fitted described as stainless steel, a gearbox may be fitted described as 'reconditioned', or a particular battery may be supplied described as of a certain manufacturer.

In any such case a misdescription may occur. The order for the exhaust may get mixed up and a conventional steel one fitted. The gearbox may be simply a second hand unit and you may be completely unaware of the fact.

The battery may come from a different distributor and be from a different manufacturer.

It is so easy to fall foul of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regualtions. A simple mix up or change of ordering can cause a problem and you probably will not even know the switch has happened.

In some cases the customer may end up with inferior product e.g. mild steel vs. stainless steel. However an offence is still committed even if the product supplied is of exactly the same specification as the one described.

For instance, if the brand of battery makes no difference to its specification, an offence would still be committed if a different brand was supplied compared with its description, whether it be as ordered by the customer, or as described on an invoice/in an advertisement.

Replacement items are assumed to be new unless agreed otherwise.

Many garages offer peripheral services alongside routine servicing, repairs and MOT's carried out on a day to day basis. Perhaps a 24 hour callout service or a collect and return service for car servicing, might be offered.

Alternatively there may be an offer for a free brake check 'while you wait', or a free car wash with every service.

All of these peripheral offers have the potential to be false descriptions and if you do not carry out what is offered then a prosecution may result.

There are a number of trade organisations of which a garage may wish to advertise its membership.

This may relate to membership of a group, or an appointed repairer for an organisation, such as an insurance company, or a member of a law firm such as Lawgistics.

Whatever the description, whether it be words or a logo, then if membership of that organisation has expired, or if the previous user of the premises was a member and you are not, then a prosecution could result.

Published: 16 Mar 2011

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