Get it in writing

legal updates

Besides being an account of entirely unreasonable customer behaviour, this is an example of what can go wrong with oral agreements.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

The customer took the car to our member, a service and repair centre, for a repair which they expected would be paid for by their warranty. The warranty claim looked likely to be turned down as matters progressed, but during a phone conversation, verbal confirmation was provided to our member by the customer to proceed with the repair regardless. 

Our member proceeded with the repair, and in the meantime, the warranty claim was decisively turned down.

When the repair was complete, the customer informed our member they would not pay the outstanding invoice as there was no agreement in place between them. The customer claimed it was understood from the outset the warranty company would pay, and they demanded the return of the repaired vehicle!

As the dispute progressed, the customer also claimed that it was not the owner of the vehicle who had given consent to proceed with the repair, but their partner, and therefore, the consent was not valid. 

Besides being an account of entirely unreasonable customer behaviour, this is an example of what can go wrong with oral agreements.

Terms are implied by statute into consumer contracts, requiring for example, that goods supplied are of satisfactory quality and services are provided with reasonable care and skill. 

Terms in consumer contracts can also set out the agreement you have with consumers and must be “fair”. Not all contracts will have written terms, but in the event of a dispute, it can be difficult to prove what you and the consumer had agreed if the contract was oral as described above. 

Where there is room for any future misunderstanding over costs, such as where circumstances dictate that the original quote must change or where a customer confirms they will pay in the event of an unsuccessful warranty claim, it is advisable to agree in writing. A follow up email after a conversation could make a lot of difference.

There is some useful government guidance on business to consumer contracts to be found at the link below:

Wearewood Services LtdMotor Trade Web Specialists

We offer an all-encompassing web, digital & design service specially tailored to the Motor Industry.

Polly DaviesLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Customer reneges on agreed not distance sale

Our member explained they do not offer a delivery service and do not engage in distance selling.

Consumer “Handcuffed” by Deduction for Use Settlement

Don’t sign any contract unless you are fully aware of its terms!

Double or nothing – Consumer’s claim dismissed!

The Claimant countered with a request for more than double the amount that our member had offered.

Non-refundable deposits – Where do you stand?

Relevant paperwork should be provided before payment is taken.

Used car warranties – What are you liable for?

If a fault is found to have been developing at the time of sale, this could become the trader’s responsibility to provide a remedy.

Distance Selling Regulations – A thing of the past?

The regulations only apply to consumer contracts, not business-to-business sales, and only apply to sales conducted at a distance.

Accepting Lowball Offers 

What are your legal obligations when a customer makes a significantly low offer which you ”jokingly” accept? Will it be legally binding?

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.