When a consumer doesn’t have the money to pay for a repair/work undertaken to a vehicle

legal updates

In certain circumstances the garage can withhold the release of the vehicle.

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Service and repair garages can sometimes be faced with undertaking repair work to a vehicle and finding the consumer has no money to pay for the work undertaken.

In certain circumstances the garage can withhold the release of the vehicle, if payment for that repair is not made (this is called exercising a lien).

There are restrictions to bear in mind, being the following:

  • a repair or improvement must have been undertaken to the vehicle. Investigating a fault/diagnostics or storage charges wouldn’t apply
  • there has to be a continuation of possession, so if initial work is undertaken, the vehicle is released to the consumer and then further work is undertaken, then a new lien from the initial work cannot be imposed.

However, if the vehicle is not owned by the consumer and is subject to a lease agreement/hire purchase agreement then its more complex. This is because the finance company could attempt to exclude the creation of the lien by a term within the agreement. Attempts could be made to argue the clause if the clause has not been brought to the repairing garage when being instructed by the consumer who is in control of the vehicle.

A notice in the reception area which puts the consumer upon notice also would not hurt.

Octane FinanceFuel Your Finance

Octane Finance is the broker of choice for new and used car dealers nationwide. With our uncompromising service levels and our genuine and professional approach, you and your customers can trust us to deliver.

Roxanne BradleyLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

1066 – A good year for motor traders!

An unpaid mechanic/garage may have the right to keep a customer’s vehicle until payment is made for the cost of any repairs and servicing.

How heavy can you ‘lien’ on someone

Vehicle repairers have a very useful tool in their armory which can allow them, in certain circumstances to withhold the release of a vehicle if payment for the repair is not made.

How far can you lien?

A lien only applies to charges due in relation to improvement or repairs. It does not apply if goods are just maintained in working condition.

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