/ Home & Energy

Brief cases: costly repair bill for faulty garage door

We helped a member to get their money back after they were forced to pay a hefty call-out charge to fix the problem…

A Which? Legal member had a garage roller door installed in February 2014, which cost them £1,341.50.

After a series of major breakdowns the door eventually jammed completely, due to a seizure of the emergency brake bearing.

The trader refused to repair it unless  a call-out charge of £192 (including £60 for a replacement part) was paid, as it wasn’t covered under warranty.

The member was forced to pay to make the garage door operable again, and at this point they contacted Which? Legal for advice.

After requesting their money back from the company, the dispute ultimately escalated to the small claims court.

The company refused mediation, but eventually acquiesced to his claim and paid him £500, thereby settling the matter shortly before the scheduled hearing date.

Our advice

We advised the member on their rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

Under this Act, the garage door should have been reasonably durable. As this wasn’t the case, we explained that the company shouldn’t have forced them to pay for the repair.

We later advised on how to escalate this matter to court, and gave practical tips on trying to settle the dispute. On our advice, the member got an independent expert to examine the door.

They confirmed that it shouldn’t have needed the maintenance that he was charged for, which added support in favour of his case.

The law

The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 applies to contracts that supplied and installed goods bought before 1 October 2015.

This law states that goods should be of satisfactory quality, ie they meet the standards a person would expect.

If the goods fall below this standard, the trader must attempt to remedy the failure and bear all necessary costs.

This meant that the member had a claim for the financial losses they were forced to incur to fix the issue. As the matter was settled, he contacted the court and cancelled the hearing.


It is disappointing that the customer had the inconvenience of several repairs, unless that was the remedy that they decided to choose. Even with the partial refund they have paid over £800 for the use they have had of the door. I suspect that a decent door would be considerably more expensive, but even a cheaper one should be of satisfactory quality.

There are not many comments in this Convo, which is unusual these days.

If I was let down repeatedly by a company I might be tempted to cut my losses and have a go at fixing the problem myself. It’s good to push for your legal rights to be upheld but it might not be worth the hassle.

While I sympathise with the approach, once you try to fix a problem yourself that is the suppliers job you may well invalidate any claim.

There is no doubt that you will invalidate the guarantee by replacing any parts that are not considered user-replaceable, and waive your statutory rights too, so it’s a case of making a judgement based on the information available. It’s worth taking an interest when an attempted repair is being carried out. In the introduction we are told that the problem is a seized bearing, and most bearings are readily available and inexpensive if you buy from a specialist. On the other hand, replacing a circuit board can be remarkably expensive and it would make sense to push the company for an acceptable remedy or go to the small claims court.

Colin Rose says:
9 February 2019

I feel that in such situations those that fail in their duties of care should be named and shamed in the public interest. It is most regretable that our civil law requires money which means many cannot get justice. It would be very nice to have “A law” that requires strict observance with meaningful deterents. We must get away from the attitude that there are serious and lesser crimes, all breaches are serious.

Having had to take on a certain housing association twice, for constituents, I would like to see a Which report on these, especially where the local authorities have handed over their responsibilities and failed to monitor thoroughly. I find being an Architect/Engineer has more benefit than being a politician.