In a recent case, a customer had asked for his race engine to be repaired. This is specialised work and our client is highly qualified in this field.
However, the customer was unhappy with the work which was carried out and entered a court claim against our client. At one point it appeared that the customer actually thought that no work had been undertaken on their engine.
This was a difficult case as the goal posts kept changing and the customer was unrepresented and so did not always understand the directions given by the court. The court can be very lenient towards consumers who are unrepresented and in this case extended the time of the hearing so considerably that the parties had to return for a second day (for what should have been a 2 hour small claims hearing).
However, although the consumer was given a more than fair crack at proving his case, our client had ultimately kept enough documentation to defend their position and the consumer’s case was dismissed.
Interestingly, the judge did make comment that although the small claims system is designed for people to represent themselves, they should seek advice in much the same way as they might when filling in a tax return or anything in which there is a degree of difficult in understanding the process. If this consumer had done so, they might have avoided a long drawn out court case which clearly took up a lot of their time, only for them to walk away with nothing.
Dealers will often feel that courts will rule for a consumer regardless, but certainly in many of the cases in which we are involved, this is very much not the case. For dealers who get the right advice and listen to that advice, court wins are well and truly within their grasp.