I’m writing this partly for a bit if group therapy and partly to get some help in moral compass alignment…
I apologise for the length of this so I’ll give the short version of the story first and then the full detail for whoever may be interested.
- I’ve had my 1986 944 turbo for a decade and have treated it with the utmost care and respect. For 10 years I’ve been doing all maintenance on it myself, from paint topup and rustproofing all the way to balance belt changes and injector cleaning. I’ve poured endless weekends on this car and have developed quite a bond with it
- A few months ago I was ready to go on a weeklong roadtrip through Europe. Everything was ready and booked. We’d be leaving on Monday
- On Saturday morning I took the car for an oil change and its MOT (which I knew it’d pass)
- Two hours later I’m told that the MOT centre has crashed my car. You can imagine my horror
- They claimed a cyclist was to blame as they transferred the car from the garage to the MOT centre (I was since given every indication that the cause was joyriding in my precious classic and not a cyclist)
- The car had skidded severely, slammed into the pavement with both wheels. Both right tyres burst and both alloys got severely dented (see photos)
- After that point the entire experience was horrendous – some of the most appalling treatment I’ve ever had to endure
- The end result was that they did manage to get the alloys repaired overnight (an impressive feat) and they did replace all four tyres
- By that point I’d got advice that welded alloys on such a sports car may not be safe longterm which I began telling the MOT centre, at which point the owner threatened me (very convincingly) and told me f***-off
- Which I did as I was genuinely worried about him causing harm to either me or my car.
- I’d come for an MOT with a car in pristine condition and left with two welded alloys and a car so out of alignment I held the wheel at 45 degrees angle for it to go straight (for the entire trip through Europe!)
Needless to say this experience totally ruined my whole trip. I just couldn’t stop thinking of it and especially the abuse I had to go through throughout.
I’m intentionally not naming this MOT centre yet as I’d like your opinion on whether I should name and shame or whether, in balance, both parties were to blame so I should leave things be.
A sore sight
Long version (filling in further details)
On Saturday morning I took the car to a garage that I thought would do both the oil change and the MOT. I was surprised when they called a different company to do the MOT and when a young man came and took the car.
Two hours later the lady from the MOT centre came to deliver the news (and was duly apologetic). She told me that the driver had to swerve to avoid a cyclist and that we’ll go to the MOT centre once the cyclist is back on his feet. Having thought long and hard about this I’m convinced this is all a lie because:
a) I was shown the spot where the accident supposedly happened. A 30mph residential street. I can’t see how a cyclist can cause a car doing 30 to slide sideways, rip two tyres and dent two alloys
b) They claimed we were waiting for the cyclist to be taken care of. Clearly this would have been the first thing to be done, not the last thing, two hours later
c) I was subsequently told that the driver who was driving my car was fired. If it was a genuine accident this wouldn’t have been the case
d) When I told them their staff was joy riding they didn’t deny it
So, I’m taken to see the car. I see it in a real state, with the spare tyre (which had not been inflated) on one wheel and the other one with the dented alloy. I believe they’d either towed or driven the car with two deflated tyres for around a mile. Already a bad sign.
At this point I was stressed and I insisted that they find a way to make this right in time for the Monday roadtrip departure. I was offered the MOT lady’s personal Mercedes to undertake the trip (which is nice of them) but told them that that would have defeated the purpose of the road trip.
At this point I was forcefully told “listen what’s going to happen love, you’re going to leave this with me, go home and I’ll call you”. Given the lack of trust that had already been built there was no way I was going to just trust them and leave. I wasn’t being allowed to get in a single word (all I got was “this is what’s going to happen…” so I shouted “how can I trust you when you’ve done this to my car”.
At this point the MOT lady felt she had the moral high ground and simply left shouting “who do you think you are treating me like a piece of sh*t” and locked herself in her office! The MOT owner appeared, did not say hello or apologise in the least, and gave me an ultimatum “Well done, you’ve pissed her off so now you’ll have to deal with me. If you want these alloys fixed I need to take them all the way to Kent for repair now”. No time for discussion and no discussion about getting new alloys. So, fearing the worst I told him to go.
In order to be able to progress matters I put pride aside and apologised to the lady and she drove me to a tube station. During this journey I was told the next shocking thing… I was told what they intended to do with the tyres… they were planning on combining the old front left and rear left tyres onto the rear axle and get two new ones for the front! Any opinion I had for their professionalism at that point was gone.
On Saturday night I circulated photos of the dented alloys to people I trust and I got the advice that I should not accept repaired alloys on this car. I should be given new ones (or the money to get them). So I went on Sunday back to the MOT centre. The car was outside, the alloys indeed repaired (they looked even better than before) and they’d decided to replace all four tyres. Its worth saying that they did pull an amazing feat getting alloys repaired in less than 24 hours on a weekend and it did cost them 800!
I told the lady that they had done a great job but that I was told by “experts” that I should be getting new alloys. At this point she stormed back into the office again shouting “he doesn’t want them!”. I was given the keys and MOT certificate and told to leave. I kept on asking for at least the details of whoever repaired the alloys so that I can get some confidence about them but was getting nothing.
I went into the car and was about to leave when the boss stormed out and came to my window. He was fuming and told me “I’ve had it up to here and I’ve got a very short fuse, so start your engine and f***-off”
Which I did as I genuinely feared for my and/or my car’s safety.
The car was severely out of alignment (the wheel was off by 45 degrees) and effectively the whole roadtrip was ruined – and this is probably the worst part of all this. Its been a few months, I’ve realigned it and, till now, haven’t seen anything further go wrong…
And that’s the end of the rant…
At this point I’d like some opinion as to whether I was being unreasonable (and actually they went way beyond the call of duty) or whether I should have sued them or anything in between.
Alignment after the crash