Q: A few weeks ago I took my eight-year-old convertible car to the company where I purchased it from because its roof was not opening and closing. The company’s technicians investigated the fault and reported that the roof’s switch and cable harness need to be replaced.

At this point I was asked to pay a deposit of €250 for the parts and another €60 for the inspection report. I paid the requested amount and when the company informed me that the parts arrived I took the car for the repairs to be carried out.

When I went to collect it, I was told that only the switch was replaced because the cable harness was no longer in production and hence the part was no longer available. I was also informed that since the roof’s fault was actually from the harness cable, not from the switch, they could not repair the roof. Furthermore, I was requested to pay another €75 as labour charges.

Since the car’s roof is still not working, do I need to pay for labour charges? What about the deposit I paid for the parts? Am I entitled to a refund?

A: As the necessary repairs to fix the car’s roof could not be completed without the harness cable, the company should have informed you immediately and should not have carried out any repairs. You may argue that replacing the switch was useless since the main objective of the replacement was to fix the roof, which they knew could not be achieved without the cable. In view of this, you may request a full refund of the deposit paid for the parts and you my also refuse to pay for the additional labour charges.

Should the company refuse your request for a refund, you may then lodge a complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.

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