I had a feeling I was going to be ripped off when I went to pick my car up from a local garage. I'd already seen they'd scratched the bonnet so I secretly recorded our conversation on my mobile as a precaution. In the end, they did try to rip me off. Can I use the recording if the disagreement has to go to court? I'm a student so I can't afford to repair the damage they've done myself.
It's difficult to say whether or not you will be allowed to use the recording in court because the decision will lie with the judge.
If you have fully comprehensive insurance or membership with one of the motoring organisations, for example The AA or the RAC it is possible that you may have legal cover included in this. If this is the case they may be willing to take up your case so it's worthwhile exploring this option with your insurer or membership organisation. It's also possible that your NUS membership may also give you a degree of legal help to fight this case.
The best action to take initially would be to check your insurance and memberships to see if they offer this legal help. If not, as a student on a limited income, you may be entitled to legal aid. You can check your eligibility by using the legal aid calculator on CLS direct.
If you are not able to get any legal aid and need to run the case yourself, your first move would be write to the company a 'letter before action'. In this letter you will need to outline your case and give the company a time limit in which to return your money or to fix the car before starting court action. It is usual to set the time limit at 10 working days. We would also suggest that you keep a copy of the letter and send the original by recorded delivery. You can get information about taking such an action from the Court Service.
Question answered by CAB