£300 cosmetic repair to jeep results in a £3,500 award against car dealer


It did not make sense for a judge, three barristers, three solicitors, court staff, engineers and businessmen to spend half a day sorting out a mere £300 cosmetic repair to a used jeep, a judge said yesterday.

Judge Liam Devally said it was a sad day for the motor industry and people in general when such a case had to end up in court. He said he was becoming more and more disenchanted with inflated claims in which people made mountains out of mole-hills.

Judge Devally said in the Circuit Civil Court the claim of farm manager Fintan Duffy over the alleged misrepresentation as to the condition of an off-road vehicle appeared exaggerated, but he was convinced Mr Duffy had to take his case to court.

Awarding Mr Duffy £3,500 damages against North Dublin Commercials Ltd, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, and Lombard and Ulster Banking Ltd, Judge Devally said he had been disregarded and humiliated for four months by the garage over the repair of what was only a scrape on the vehicle.

He told Mr Hugh O'Keeffe, counsel for Mr Duffy, of New Road, Bellurgan, Dundalk, Co Louth, his client was entitled to damages for distress as well as financial loss. Managers at the garage reacted with intransigence when the question of damage on the vehicle had been raised.

The jeep had not been structurally damaged but a poor job in repairing a scrape had left it cosmetically flawed.