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small claims court advice over damaged headlights

Discussion in 'Motors' started by MrM, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. DannyW

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 31, 2005

    Posts: 4,870

    Location: England

    not on ebay used
     
  2. MrM

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 19, 2002

    Posts: 812

    Location: London

    It's a small 2 seater Honda convertible...

    I've reviewed my dashcam footage which is sadly only on when the ignition is on, but I think there's enough on there to favour my side and to cast doubts over their version or events and statement, so I'm planning on pressing ahead.

    I presume I am under no obligation to share evidence with the defendant prior to any case?
     
  3. ci_newman

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Feb 24, 2004

    Posts: 8,935

    Location: Hook, Hants

    Why wouldn't you share evidence with them prior to the case? It might result in them settling outside of court and saving you both a lot of expensive legal fee's.

    Honestly, this sounds like a complete waste of your time and your money. You have no definitive evidence that they broke them (photos or videos), the judge is not going to award you the damages and you're going to end up even more out of pocket after paying for lawyers.

    Chalk it up, find a pair of replacement lights in good condition second hand and move on with your life.
     
  4. Duke

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jun 29, 2003

    Posts: 33,192

    Location: Wiltshire

    As above it doesn't actually seem you have any evidence here?
     
  5. kindai

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 9, 2013

    Posts: 6,419

    Location: Bromsgrove

    Yes and no, if you intend to rely on it in court, may as well show them early as possible to reduce costs as you will have it disclose it to them with reasonable time for them to reply to it accordingly.

    Keeping it hidden then pulling it out in court shouting wabam got you... isnt a thing im afraid.

    Post it up here, so we can all be nosey :D
     
  6. Skillmister

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 3, 2009

    Posts: 19,118

    Location: Wales

    Isn't OP under an obligation to engage in ADR anyway which would surely include giving details of the pivotal evidence?

    Disclaimer, not a litigation lawyer :D
     
  7. MrM

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 19, 2002

    Posts: 812

    Location: London

    Correct, I have no conclusive proof they broke them. I do have proof of inconsistencies in their statement and the general condition of the car and the fact I was looking to get the work done in question ought to demonstrate my attitude towards upkeep.
     
  8. jpaul

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Mar 1, 2010

    Posts: 8,030

  9. MrM

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 19, 2002

    Posts: 812

    Location: London

    I would have expected both to show similar cracks of that were the case? The light nearest the paint work is heavily cracked, the other side has just 2 cracks.
     
  10. kindai

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 9, 2013

    Posts: 6,419

    Location: Bromsgrove

    I'll be honest, from re-reading the whole thread, I would say going to court will be a waste of time and money.

    No recent photos
    No video
    No useful dashcam
    No walk around sign in sheet
    MOT not recently.

    It comes down to your word vs theirs.

    At best, chance your arm and offer them a compromise, maybe split the cost with them with a well written letter fluffing your chest up "I would rather avoid a protracted litigation, however I am confident of the evidence I can provide will convince the court of the immaculate upkeep and the damage could only be caused while the car was in your care. However in light of the excellent work done on the paintwork, and to resolve the issue amicably, I am willing to split the cost of replacement on a 50/50 basis"

    If they turn around and say sod off, then at least you tried, and saved yourself a few hundred quid in court fees.
     
  11. MrM

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 19, 2002

    Posts: 812

    Location: London

    I agree with you and this is my frustration as I'm 100% confident they did the damage. I'm sure it was accidental but nonetheless. Obviously I'm kicking myself at not videoing the car beforehand; I normally do. I do however believe that I have some evidence on dashcam which will back my case.
     
  12. kindai

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 9, 2013

    Posts: 6,419

    Location: Bromsgrove

    Can you elaborate? It would need to be very obvious to hold up.
     
  13. blueboy2001

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 4,859

    Even if you could prove definitively that the lamps cracked whilst the car was in the custody of the body shop, that is not enough. You have to prove negligence - that by action or omission they did not exercise a reasonable level of care to your property.

    In the absence of any evidence of physical damage to the headlamp I don't see how a Judge could award in your favour. The fact both lamps are cracked probably makes your case weaker if anything.
     
  14. MrM

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 19, 2002

    Posts: 812

    Location: London

    So you would all put it down to bad luck and a lesson learned and pay the £1400 plus fitting?

    eBay not really an option as most lights have broken brackets from clumsy removal. Headlight theft is an issue on the car due to the cost.....
     
  15. MrM

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 19, 2002

    Posts: 812

    Location: London

    The footage shows the employee I left with my car, whom I did the walk around with exit my car after the paintwork has been done waiting for a space to park it in the car park. He gets out of the car stands in front of it and immediately looks at the light with the significant damage. Quickly looks away as if in pain, then looks at it again. He then walks up to the car and appears to run the light. He later gets into the car, drops an f bomb and curses himself for not prepping something.

    When walking around the car he acknowledged he condition it was in. He clearly would have seen the cracked headlight at this time, since they claim it was cracked upon arrival anyway and if not it would have been post painting. Why didn't he call me after I reiterated on numerous occasions it would take the car back to pristine condition.

    When I picked the car up he acted surprised when I showed him the light and acknowledged it was most likely done due to heat in the oven. This was obviously not the first time he had noticed the crack. He also told me he had someone help him park the car to avoid any car park incident, but no one was around.

    I would hope that's enough inconsistencies.
     
  16. Axeboy

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 13, 2002

    Posts: 4,622

    Location: Scotland

    S2000 i assume?

    Dont they have issues with cracked headlights in general? I mean that wont help matters if the model has a history of issues without the oven. I know its not great, really crap, but the people above are just trying to prevent even more costs and stress on you if you go down the court route.
     
  17. darael

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 10, 2010

    Posts: 3,983

    Rather than drag this through the courts, why not send a letter telling them what you have posted here? Include the footage on a DVD and they might just replace your headlights.
     
  18. MrM

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 19, 2002

    Posts: 812

    Location: London

    I will be sending them a letter detailing exactly that.

    Case closed for now. Thanks
     
  19. blueboy2001

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 4,859

    I probably wouldn't, but if it was my pride and joy and I'd never be happy with second hand lights and £1400 was affordable that might be the best course of action.

    I would look at the situation from the point of view of the bodyshop and a small claims Judge and establish my position. The bodyshop are not going to pay you £1400 in compensation to replace the lights when they haven't deliberately damaged them and only stand to gain £200 from the job, and IMO a Judge isn't going to award you that either.

    I would seek to source some second hand lights from a reputable large breaker like Hills Motors or somebody on http://www.find-a-part.com/. Once sourced, I'd go back to the Bodyshop with the evidence, say "Look guys, these lights were damaged during the bake process, I accept its not entirely your fault but its not mine either. It needs fixing, I've sourced some lights, it's cost me £x, what about you fit the lights for me, maybe offer some discount off the painting as gesture of goodwill and we'll shake hands and put this to bed." If you act reasonably, they are far more likely to act reasonably in return.
     
  20. Phil W

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 9,941

    Location: Jupiter

    Seems like you have gone round the houses a bit.

    Write to them, politely ask them to replace the headlights and include the video evidence of said 'oh no' moment. Advise them if it can't be settled directly, you are happy to do so in Small Claims Court (if that's the way you wish to go, of course.)

    Up to you then how you proceed based on what they say.