Question Details: A friend of mine went to a petrol station to get petrol and asked for the oil and water to be checked. The attendant put water into the oil entrance of the engine, damaging the car’s engine. Is the petrol station obliged to pay to remedy the damage?
Filed under Consumer Law | 2587 View(s)
Your friend can expect the petrol station owner or company to be liable for the damage their employee has done.
Your friend is entitled to expect the petrol station to do any "normal" job (for a petrol station) with reasonable care and skill. From what you tell us, the employee acted with little or no care or skill, and his or her employer should therefore be responsible.
Your friend should collect some proof, in case the petrol station or the employee denies what happened. If the car has already been seen by a mechanic, get them to provide some information (for example a signed letter) on how likely or unlikely it would be for water to get in the oil without someone pouring it in. Clear details about when the water was added and when your friend noticed a problem will also help.
Your friend should then approach the petrol station and ask them to pay to remedy the damage. The petrol station may have liability insurance to cover it for any damage to customers' cars. But, even if they don't, your friend could take a claim to the Disputes Tribunal if the petrol station won't pay. So long as your friend has evidence well organised, including either what it cost to get the car fixed or an estimate if the work hasn't been done yet, then the Disputes Tribunal can order the petrol station to meet the cost of repair. For more information on going to the Disputes Tribunal, click on this link: www.communitylaw.org.nz.
Answered 3 Dec 2012. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.
The answer provided above is intended for general informational purposes only and cannot be
considered a substitute for face-to-face legal advice. It should not be relied upon as the sole
basis for taking action in relation to a legal issue. Laws change frequently, and small
variations in the facts, or a fact not provided in the question, can often change a legal
outcome or a lawyer’s conclusion. No liability whatsoever is accepted by the authors or
publishers of the answer, for loss, damage or inconvenience arising in any way from the use of
this site. While each answer has been published by a lawyer with a practising certificate, that
person may not necessarily have experience in the particular area of law involved.