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So, basically I used to work at an automotive parts dealer and I bought a car from the owner of the store.

The car developed a gearbox issue before my ownership due to a mistake on the mechanics' part. I decided to buy the car since the owner promised to fix the issue.

He decided to do me a favour and buy a new gearbox and that the broken gearbox gets fixed at a later date to avoid me being off the road for too long since that would’ve been my only mode of transport to and from work. He ordered the new gearbox and fitted it to the vehicle.

Over time he started pressuring me into getting the broken gearbox fixed. He agreed to pay for all the parts and labour. I found a local garage and dropped the gearbox to them with his permission.

It so happened that meanwhile the gearbox was at the garage, I decided to leave the job and work elsewhere. The garage disassembled the gearbox and sent a parts list to the owner. He wasn’t convinced that the garage were telling the truth and instead thought they were trying to con him.

So he asked me to call them and tell them to cancel the job and put the gearbox back together so that it could be delivered back to the shop from the garage.

I did so and the garage sent me an invoice for the time which amounted to £150. I sent the invoice to the owner and he has refused to pay the invoice and expects me to pay for it which in my opinion is unfair and he knows I’m unemployed so I’m financially vulnerable yet still expects that.

My question is can he take legal action against me? What should I do as it’s a very stressful situation.

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  • "No good deed goes unpunished."
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 11, 2021 at 21:19

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Legal action might be taken by the garage, because you had a contract to repair the gearbox which you cancelled (causing them some damages in time spent). You could hope that the store-owner will pay the invoice that you sent, but that seems to not be likely. The store owner can't sue you for sending him the invoice: the mechanic can sue you for not paying what the work billed for.

But you do have a recourse, which is that you were acting on behalf of the store owner. I assume that you were in possession of the old gearbox, so it simplified matters if you took transported it to the mechanic, since the store owner was going to pay. In other words, you were acting as the store owner's agent: you were authorized to create a contractual arrangement between the garage and the owner. The one problem is that apparently the garage thought they were doing the work for you, and not for the owner. So they may sue you, and you may sue the owner. And suing anybody costs money.

The owner is, perhaps, trying a strategy of not paying what he does actually owe, in the theory that the alternative of suing is too much time and bother (besides, it's the garage owner who would have to get the ball rolling – unless the shop owner first wants to sue to recover the gearbox).

Given the information you have provided, I don't see a basis for the shop owner suing you. In order to sue someone, that person has to have caused you some damage. He could claim that he didn't authorize you to take the gearbox to the garage, or that you were negligent in making the arrangements with the shop (for instance if he said "but only if they will do the diagnosis for free"), in which case the court will have to decide whose story is more believable.

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