What does the law say about garage repair times? What articles of law protect you against mechanics who hang around carrying out operations on your vehicle? Repair time at the garage: your rights. Advice, tests and automotive trials

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Garage mechanic and duration / repair time: what the law says

Does your mechanic keep you waiting? The duration of repairs has become very important and you want to know how to speed things up? It is indeed not uncommon for mechanics to accept more work than they can provide, a bit like craftsmen elsewhere… Unfortunately, it is the customers who have to pay for the broken pot by finding themselves on foot without their mount.
And holding your very dear car hostage (in the first sense of the term), customers sometimes have a little apprehension about stirring up mechanics who are often quite touchy and not very pleasant when you take a little grip on them. But fortunately they are not the absolute masters of the game and the law gives you some articles that will allow you to reverse the balance of power.

No deadline indicated when dropping off the car?

It’s a great classic and yet it should never be the case … Indeed, it would normally be customary to write a repair order which mentions on it the time allowed for the repair.
Indeed, this repair order (which constitutes a contract that binds you contractually to the mechanic) must indicate a maximum duration of repair. This is a legal obligation according to article L111-3 and L138-1
But how many drivers have this repair order drawn up? This seems to be very rare indeed, with agreements usually being made orally or through an estimate.

How to react if the repair time is exceeded or in the event of an unspecified time?

It’s often a story of men … And to make a man act he needs either pressure or a particular motivation. You have therefore understood here that we are going to use a means of pressure.
And thanks to the two articles mentioned above, you will have something to stir it up a bit. All of this, of course, requires a letter of formal notice by registered mail (this is customary when communicating with an opposing party, otherwise any appeal to the court will be rejected).

Let’s start with article L111-3 which you will have to quote in your letter: article L111-6 indicates that if article L 111-3 is not respected then the professional incurs a fine of 15,000 euros (3000 if it is registered in its own name). Threaten the mechanic to report him to the DGCCRF for breach of his obligations.

Then comes article L138-1 which stipulates that in the event of a breach of deadlines, they are then by default 30 days. If it’s been more than thirty days then the professional is at fault.
Of course, if it were to end up in court, you would have to be able to prove the date of deposit of the car.

However, I would advise trying an amicable conciliation before coming to these formal notices, because the mechanics are often touchy and this can further increase their bad will. However, once you have tried the gentle method, do not hesitate to go all the way for a matter of principle.
Do not forget that you also certainly have legal aid that would help you in the process.

In court?

If the case is taken to court, the mechanic could then be forced to pay damages for the damage suffered (not having a vehicle for a period of time can be difficult for some profiles). The court can also force the mechanic to carry out the operations or even stop the “work in progress” with reimbursement of the garage (then it’s up to you to find another professional to finish the job).

All comments and reactions

Last comment posted:

By Anne (Date: 2022-04-10 17:40:05)

My case is a bit special, I had an accident on January 27, 2022, my vehicle is returning to the dealership on January 28, 2022 (because my steering wheel is twisted when I drive, I got scared to drive, from the outside nothing bad when we compare to the other vehicle which is in my opinion reformed), an expert passes on January 31, 2022 and tells me that my vehicle must be immobilized and reported to the ministry… I wait for the return of the dealer who tells me that the parts should arrive on March 20 (I was told that there were parts in creation since they have never been changed, I was also told that there have been delays following the Covid which I fully understand). So on March 24, 2022 I am told that the car is going to the mechanics today that the parts have arrived and that the car will go to the bodywork at the beginning of the week, that is to say March 28, 2022… the next day I am reports that the mechanical part is finished but that it will have to wait for it to go to the bodywork at the end of the week, that is to say April 1, 2022 (yes yes I thought it was a joke). Alas on April 8, 2022 I am told that the geometric check could not be done on my vehicle because it has a twisted spindle, the said part is in store referencing and it still does not know if it is where I live, that is to say on Reunion Island or on order…

I don’t know what to do anymore, my vehicle was bought new in October 2021, I had it for three months and today it’s been 3 months since I no longer have my vehicle, I’m paying the treats (which is normal, shall we say), you should also know that the accident, I am not at fault but I feel punished for human stupidity, what should I do?

1 reaction(s) to this comment:

  • By Fab i trois TOP CONTRIBUTOR (2022-04-10 18:47:24) : Hello,

    If I read you correctly, you find yourself deprived of the enjoyment of your property, in this case your automobile, by the fault recognized via your respective insurers of a third party.

    The person responsible for this situation therefore owes you full compensation for your loss under Article 1240 of the Civil Code.

    From the outset, you should have rented, as a replacement for your vehicle rendered unavailable and unusable through the fault of this third party, a vehicle at most equivalent, and presented the invoice to your insurer so that he has presented it to the insurer of the third party responsible for this accident under the “defence and recourse” section of your insurance, whether the latter is at third party or at all risk, it does not matter, the essential thing in this process is that you are not wrong.

    Of course your insurer will raise its arms to the sky, possibly tell you that you have not subscribed to the “replacement vehicle” clause … etc etc, who cares, you don’t you are not at fault, the compensation for the damage relates not only to the repair of the vehicle…, but also to the deprivation of its enjoyment. Only the payment of the value of the non-repairable vehicle or the return of the viable vehicle will put an end to this repair.

    You should know that if your insurer ticks, it is because there are non-recourse clauses between insurance companies for this type of request…., and therefore they oblige them to deduct from their own funds, the repair of their own client (too well informed) who would make this kind of request. In fact, the famous vehicle replacement clause will only be used for an accident where you are at fault.

    Here you have a lead on how to get a replacement vehicle, for the repair of your damaged vehicle, I don’t know what to tell you, I know that the supplies on Reunion are not always at the top, I there are colleagues who sometimes expect more than reason for gear from Europe to work (St Pierre and Miquelon is not better …)…., on the other hand if your car had taken ” expensive” more than 2 months of repairs are not necessarily off track, now if your insurance had to pay for a replacement car, maybe they could explain to your dealership how to go a little faster, penalties at the key.. …


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