I bought a new car a few months ago and the clutch failed so I took it back, expecting it to be fixed under warranty. The garage said the damage was caused by my driving style and I would have to pay for the repair. The garage have renewed the clutch, but are refusing to release it until I have paid the bill. Can they do this?
The reason garages are reluctant to accept a warranty claim for a clutch is that it is a component which can be abused – by leaving your foot on the clutch, or slipping it excessively etc. The vehicle warranty is only provided to cover defects which arise as a result of faults in manufacturing or the materials used.
The garage is entitled to retain your car until you have paid the bill (this is called a ‘lien’) so if you are unhappy with their decision you should pay the invoice, but write on it ‘Paid under protest’ which indicates that you are only paying so you can have your car back. Ask the garage to give you the damaged parts and have them independently inspected to establish whether the garage was correct.