Motor traders are regularly asked by owners to fit parts they have not supplied. Should a motor trader fit parts they have not supplied and if so what are the legal ramifications?

Who is liable for any parts fitted?

When fitting any parts, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 require these parts to be fitted as agreed,

  • with reasonable care and skill
  • in a reasonable time if no specific time agreed
  • for a reasonable charge if no price was set in advance.

Where the garage also supplies the parts they are under an additional duty as the Consumer Rights Act 2015 will hold the motor trader liable for the parts as well as the fitting. Any parts must be,

  • of satisfactory quality
  • fit for purpose
  • match any description given.

Should a repair fail then the motor trader will be liable to repair or replace the parts concerned if the parts are faulty or if they have been fitted incorrectly.

Parts supplied by the owner of the car.

The difficulty with owner supplied parts is establishing the reason for the failure. If the failure cannot be easily diagnosed there is a risk of liability by default as by definition the garage will be intimately linked to the failure.

Where a part is supplied by the owner the garage is not liable for the part; only the fitting and any diagnosis carried out. Should the part prove to be incorrect, or faulty then this is an issue for the owner themselves.

The garage will remain under a duty to diagnose any fault and fit any parts correctly. This will include exercising a reasonable level of care and skill. If the part is obviously wrong or inappropriate, then this will need to be brought to the owner’s attention and specific instructions sought.

Conversely, where a garage supplies and fits any parts the likelihood of the garage being liable for any failure increases as the garage is also liable for the part itself. The difference s that a parts failure is usually covered by a supplier’s warranty allowing the garage to seek a contribution or indemnity from their supplier. The quality of parts as well as the ease of dealing with any issues can be a major consideration for most motor trader when choosing a parts supplier.

There are a number of things that need to be considered. As an RMI member you have access to the RMI Legal advice line, as well as a number of industry experts for your assistance. Should you find yourself in the situation above, contact us at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate.

Motor Industry Legal Services

Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.