Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Tribulations Of Having A Car

Each year, any car in the UK that is over three years old has, by law, to undergo an MOT test to ensure the car is safe and roadworthy. If a car fails, the owner has a short period of time to get the faults fixed and then must take it back to be re-checked. In order to drive your car legally, you need a valid MOT certificate to obtain tax and insurance.

DH's old banger of a car which he uses as a run-around went in for its MOT. It failed on a few minor points, which DH paid to get fixed elsewhere and took it back to the dealership to get it re-tested within the statutory time limit.  It was booked in for re-test on Friday, which was a frantically busy day for us, so we were glad we had a 10.30am slot.

When we got there, we were greeted with "Oh, the mechanic who did your test is not working today, can you bring it in next week?" Well, this was extremely incovenient for us as the dealership is in another town, and if they knew the mechanic was not in work when they opened at 8.30am, why on earth did they not phone us to save us a wasted journey ? (they do have my mobile number on their database).

The lady manning the desk was adamant that it was THE LAW that exactly the same mechanic who did the original test had to do the re-test as well, no matter what we said or pleaded for one of the other mechanics on duty to do it. I checked the failed MOT test certificate and it definitely did not say that the same mechanic had to do the re-test, only that it had to be done at the same garage, and that if there were any questions about the test, they could be answered by consulting the MOT website or the official MOT handbook which each garage has on site.

So, being the awkward customer that I am, I requested firmly that she show me the legal documentation which proved that it had to be the same mechanic doing both tests. She huffed and puffed, and said she had been working in the dealership for ten years, and she knew what she was saying. I stuck to *my* guns and said that if it didn't specify that on the legal form, then it was not a legal requiremnt, even though it may be their firm's "Best Practice".

 She said she would check on the MOT website and print out the pages to "show" me. After ten minutes, when she had not returned, I whispered to DH that perhaps she was finding it harder to prove her point than she thought. A few moments later, she headed out of the office to the service area.
After a further 30 minutes, she returned, clutching the completed  MOT documents, showing that our car had successfully passed the re-test, documents which had been signed by another mechanic who had done the work and it had all been accepted as legal by their computer system linked to the MOT network.

She did have the grace to say that she had learnt something new that day, and I made  a  point of thanking her very much for taking the time to do the double-checking for me. We parted on good terms, smiles all round, and without the added hassle of having to sacrifice another of DH's precious days off work next week to sitting around waiting  for the test to be done again :-)
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Athanasia said...

Good for you Elizabeth! That kind of stuff drives me crazy!

elizabeth said...

so glad that you had the courage! good to hear. glad it worked out so well.

blessed Sunday to you!

Anonymous said...

She was indeed very graceful in her admission of a mistake...that is a valuable lesson for all...

And I'm glad things worked out for you are all legal!

Meg said...

Very glad this worked out so well for all concerned, the lady at the office as well as you and DH. It's good that you stuck to your guns -- now she knows better -- but also good that no tempers were lost, as I'm sure she has to put up with a lot of ugly customers. (And yes, they should have called you about the missing mechanic!!)