‘A rogue mechanic stripped my £35k Mazda for parts and Admiral won’t help’

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Dear Katie,

On February 18 my five-month-old Mazda CX-30 was damaged during a storm. As a result of falling debris, the bonnet was dented and the windscreen was cracked. I called my insurer, Admiral, who took the vehicle away to be fixed by one of its “approved repairers”.

Three months later, without my consent, the vehicle was transferred to a new garage. It asked me to come and inspect my car because the damage did not match what was listed on the paperwork from Admiral.

When I arrived I was horrified to find a catalog of new and extensive damage. The outer body of the car was covered in scuffs and dents, with all but two body panels now badly dented. The interior was just as bad. The inner doors are severely scuffed and both front leather seats need replacing. One significant source of damage to the interior of the vehicle was that a number of large metal parts were transported inside the car with no wrapping or other protection. I’m told this was a violation of the BSI Kitemark standard held by the original garage.

There is also extensive electrical damage to the vehicle, which the technician has stated likely invalidates my Mazda warranty. The cost of repairing the car is now estimated to be in excess of £10,000.

The garage currently in possession of the vehicle cannot explain why so much of the bodywork and parts were removed when all that was originally required was a new bonnet and windscreen. In addition to the considerable damage caused to the vehicle itself, the new bonnet, which wasn’t fitted to the vehicle when it arrived at the second garage, was also heavily scratched on arrival.

I complained to Admiral, but so far I have heard nothing back. This is despite me sending an email to the chief executive, resulting in her assurance that the matter would be addressed. It’s now been four weeks since I complained and, despite regular chasing, nobody has contacted me to discuss the matter.

–RH, Surrey

dear reader,

So catastrophic has this insurance claim been that you are left wishing you’d paid for the original repairs out of your own pocket. What should have been a simple repair job has escalated into a complete nightmare.

For weeks on end you’ve been driving around in a rented Ford Fiesta while your car was supposedly being repaired. Yet, inexplicably, your Mazda SUV has emerged from this “approved” garage looking like it has been driven through a war zone.

I wanted to know how on earth it ended up in this state, and what was being done about it, so I asked Admiral to investigate. It came back a few days later apologizing for not keeping you in the loop. It accepted that its level of service had fallen well below its usual standard.

On April 20, it said it was advised that a repairer at the original garage had accidentally damaged the wiring loom within the car, and was going to rectify this. However there was a delay in getting the parts it needed. Admiral said that on May 27 it was forced to remove the vehicle from the original repairer and instruct a new one due to “ongoing complications” with the repair.

On June 11 the new repairer advised Admiral of extensive additional damage to the vehicle, which it said had been caused by the previous repairer.

You sent me photographs of the car in its current state. It was peppered with seemingly endless scratches and scuffs which were not present when you handed it over. Major alarm bells rang when you showed me pictures of various car parts, including the wheel arches, which had been removed and placed loose in the boot. I couldn’t help wondering why these parts, which had nothing to do with the windscreen or bonnet, would need removing at all?

Well, they very clearly didn’t. From the evidence you’ve provided there is only one conclusion I can reach. I believe your car was stripped, probably by a rogue employee within the first “approved garage”, for parts which could be sold on for a profit. I suspect this person’s plan may have been to replace these genuine parts with fake ones. To this day I don’t know if the loose parts in the boot were the originals, but it appears that this rogue was probably caught in the act, as they have made a right pig’s ear of the job.

When I asked Admiral about this theory he declined to comment, but said it had stopped working with the garage in question. It said it agreed that the repairs to your car were “high risk”, with any replacement parts likely to be delayed for a considerable period of time due to the war in the Ukraine, where many Mazda parts are made.

In light of this, and as a result of my involvement, it has offered to pay for a brand new Mazda CX-30 for you. As there is currently a 24-week wait for a like-for-like replacement, I have persuaded it to buy you a 4×4 version which is immediately available, at an additional cost of £2,000. As well as this new car worth £36,800, Admiral is paying you £500 in compensation for the stress and upset this episode has caused you. You’re happy with this, and are relieved to be able to get on with your life.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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