Workshop trouble does not have to be – How To Cars

Every car workshop in Germany must employ at least one master craftsman. This regulation is intended to guarantee quality. For expertise and reliability. Our workshop tests show that companies do not always live up to this claim. And then there’s trouble. Here we show you what to do then. Basically, workshop orders for vehicle repairs are work contracts. This means that the company has certain obligations after acceptance. He must carry out a proper and professional repair. Tinkering attempts or partial services are therefore not permitted.

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Customers should therefore insist on what they are entitled to: a complete and competent repair. This also includes a cost estimate. After all, larger sums are usually involved. What the exact repair looks like, on the other hand, is rarely transparent. Because a repair in the presence of the customer is usually not permitted due to accident prevention regulations. There are various reasons why there are often disputes about the work afterwards.

Workshop employees keep replacing components until the fault is found

One is the growing technical complexity of modern vehicles. “Even larger specialist workshops are often no longer able to properly identify and repair technical defects,” says attorney Dr. Christian Kotz from Kreuztal (NRW). The lawyer is increasingly observing a “trial and error principle” in which workshop employees swap components until the fault is found. Kotz: “This often leads to the replacement of parts that were not faulty or damaged. The client bears the labor costs for this.” Damage during the workshop visit can also become a nuisance. They are usually covered by business liability insurance.

Workshops have a right of lien

If customers do not agree with the service or the invoice, you should arrange for a payment with reservations, documented in writing. Warning: Non-payment is not a solution. Workshops have a right of lien and do not have to hand over the car before paying. Even if it is disputed whether the repair was professional. Workshop customers generally have a right to rectification if there is a problem. However, this right is not unlimited and expires after 24 months at the latest. This also applies if a faulty repair is not noticed within the period.

Explicitly request workshop to rectify

Tip: Anyone who discovers a defect should expressly ask the workshop to rectify it and set a reasonable deadline of around two to four weeks. And in the small print, many workshops reduce the warranty to the so-called minimum limitation period. Then the customer is only on the safe side for one year. Another special feature is the extended limitation period. It is valid for three years. Sounds long and good, but it only works if repair defects were deliberately kept secret by the workshop.

Arbitration boards provide support in the event of a dispute

The arbitration board system was established in Germany in 1970 to solve conflicts: around 100 of these mediators nationwide offer free arbitration procedures for out-of-court clarification of disputes between car owners and garages. Consumers can have their rights to services checked unbureaucratically and can usually enforce justified claims in this way. This avoids the risk of court and legal fees in the event of a lawsuit, which of course also remains possible.

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