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Consumer Rights.

Updated: 4 Mar 2021

How do I complain about poor garage service?

Received poor service, been overcharged or found damage to your vehicle after taking it to the garage? Our guide gives advice on what you can do next.
Which?Editorial team

1 Speak to the garage

If you’re unhappy with any part of the service you receive, you should explain your problem to the garage straight away. 

Problems such as poor repair work or overcharging may be quickly solved, then and there.

2 Write a letter of complaint

If your problem isn't resolved, write a letter of complaint to the manager or owner of the garage.  

Explain what’s wrong, and what you want done to rectify it. 

You should always give the garage an opportunity to make amends, because you have a duty to keep your claim as small as reasonably possible.  

Use our template letters to help you complain about poor servicing of a vehicle, being overcharged, or damage caused to your car. 

3 Contact the Motor Ombudsman

If your garage belongs to the Motor Ombudsman, it will have signed up to the Service and Repair Code. 

This means the garage has committed to:

  • Honest and fair services
  • Open and transparent pricing
  • Invoices that match quoted prices
  • Competent and conscientious staff

You can make sure your garage is a member by checking the The Motor Ombudsman website or looking out for a logo when you visit.

If you feel these commitments have been breached, call the free Consumer Advice Line on 0345 241 3008, or submit your complaint online.

Motor Codes will asses your complaint, and provide advice and assistance. 

If your vehicle is still with the garage, the Motor Ombudsman will contact the garage directly to try and achieve a swift resolution.

4 Go to the small claims court 

If your garage is not a member of Motor Codes, you're free to seek redress through the courts. 

However, the Civil Procedure Pre-Action Protocol does recommend that all other ways of resolving a dispute are explored before resorting to court action. 

Remember, if you do take your case through an arbitration scheme, such as the one provided by Motor Codes, you can reject their ruling and go to court later if you're unhappy with the result.

If the garage repair or service cost more than £100 and you paid by credit card, you could claim against your card provider using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

If your card provider won't uphold your claim you can refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). 

Read our guide on how to take a claim to the FOS.