Smart Car catches fire

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Locksmith, May 7, 2011.

  1. Locksmith

    Locksmith Read Only Funster

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    [​IMG]Armitages A Frame - Smart Car Fire - Locksmiths Bad Luck Strikes again.
    After the Brownhills are Downhills saga I hoped for a quiet life, Mandy is now in remission and we are trying to make the most of our motorhome that Brownhills supplied to us with the very best after service possible.
    Last Thursday 28th of April my son and I went to Armitages West Yorkshire to have a tow bar and A frame fitted to my just purchased Smart Car, we left Bury St Edmunds for the 170 mile drive at around 5.30 am to get to Armitages by 9am. The Manager (Wayne) met us and went around the two vehicles to list anything on the vehicle’s (marks dents etc.) before they start work on fitting the A frame to the Smart Car and the tow bar and electrics to the Motorhome, he commented how they were both in very good order.
    Armitages lend you a courtesy car so you can go off for the day while they do the work.
    My son and I drove to York and spent the best part of the day there and returned to Armitages a 3pm as they said all would be ready by 3.30pm, we waited till 4.30 …. Still not ready …. Then the secretary of Armiages came and said the Smart Car is ready we will do you a demo of how everything works while the engineers finish putting the tow bar on the Motorhome.
    We ran through the demo all seemed OK I then went and paid for the two things with my debit card and waited for the motorhome the time was 4.52pm, at 5.10pm the motorhome was driven out to the smart car and our second demo started. The engineers and other were running about like headless chickens trying to lock up the depot, the next day being the Royal wedding and a holiday they wanted to get away, anyways the chap doing the demo connected me up to the motorhome and said now put the car in neutral, hand break off this done he checked it all and showed me how to put a bungee from the seat to the break pedal after which he hurried me into the motorhome to test drive towing the Smart car. I pulled away and was amazed how easy it was and I braked as instructed but noticed it was not so easy to pull away after that but continued on my test laps of the car park until he appeared and waved me down to check the linkage and do any adjustments, I told him after the first time I braked it seemed harder to then pull away, he said it was because I was not used to towing the car behind and I needed to give it more welly.
    At this point the linkage brake cable was very loose so he adjusted it and went inside the car to check the bungee etc. he then asked me if I had any spanners and that I should check the adjustment two or three times on my way home, he then shook my hand and wished me luck and I climbed back in the motor home and pulled away.
    My son and I got onto the A1 quite quickly and headed south, I was disappointed as I was struggling to get above 50mph, we had got about ten miles along the road and I saw this juggernaut behind me flashing his lights, he then came along side me waving frantically, I looked in my reversing camera everything looked fine with the Smart but I pulled over at the next layby, I got out walked to the back of the motorhome and could smell hot breaks but when I got to the Smart Car there were flames coming from the rear wheel hubs and the hubs were glowing red hot, a lorry driver pulled up behind and jumped out with water to try and extinguish the car but the rear plastic body was well alight, it was to far gone to save it, I raced and unhitched the car and drove the motorhome away further along the layby,
    As I got out I saw my son taking a picture with his phone, a split second later the car exploded and we couldn’t see a thing getting back in the motorhome out of the thick black smoke. My son called 999 and I called Armitages and got hold of Wayne telling him what had happened giving him a running commentary whilst moving the motorhome again as there were further explosions. The Police arrived with the fire brigade, I told Wayne this disaster has got to be down to him and could he call me back as the Police want to talk to me, he said yes of course and kept saying he was so sorry.
    I explained to the policeman what work I had had done and he looked at the receipt and his watch 6. 35 and said that it was only 40 minutes ago that you paid for it!
    I gave the policeman a statement and he suggested I call Armitages to get them over here with there insurance to clear this mess up.
    Wayne arrived about an hour later having to queue in the 10 mile tail backs each way and all he could say was how sorry he was and started taking pictures at which stage he then said to me in front of my son and the Highway’s agency that there is a kink in the brake line they fitted. Wayne carried on saying how sorry he was and he would sort it all out and get us a courtesy car he then asked the Highways Agency if my son and I could go home as we had 160miles to go, we got home and had to explain why we looked like coal miners and our cloths had burns from the sparks.
    I have tried to get hold of Wayne since Wednesday but he is always with a client but have since learned he is not excepting liability, I have talked with other A frame fitters and one in particular has said that Armitages have had problems like this before but because it has happened a week or a month later they have said it has been down to the customer not adjusting the set up correctly and have not paid out, in my case it was all done by them…. The case continues.[​IMG]
     

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  2. moandick

    moandick Read Only Funster

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    Oh, wow, Locksmith - that really is a bummer - must be a blow to your confidence let alone losing your Smart car in the process. :Eek!:

    Easy for us to say - but we really do hope you get a satisfactory outcome on this one - and please keep us in touch with events so that others may learn from your experience. :Angry:

    Dick
     
  3. Locksmith

    Locksmith Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Dick.
    Armitages seemed like they were going to sort it out quick but have not done a single thing they promised.
    I want people to know what they do..:Angry:
     
  4. callumwa

    callumwa Read Only Funster

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    What a nightmare....... what an absolute nightmare

    Hope it gets sorted out soon and they do not try to draw it out.
    Seems like they are bang to rights.....

    all the best to you....
     
  5. DESCO

    DESCO Read Only Funster

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    Hi Locksmith

    What rotten luck, in the nicest possible way thought we had heard the last of your tales of woe but it seems not.
    Do keep us informed as to outcome, not much help to you but could save others.
    Still at least you gave us some good news about Mandy hope that continues.

    Best of luck
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  6. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    When you speak with them if they get shirty or difficult try just mentioning the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.

    See: http://webarchive.nationalarchives....whatwedo/consumers/fact-sheets/page38311.html


    • Wherever goods are bought they must "conform to contract". This means they must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality (i.e. not inherently faulty at the time of sale).
    • Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description.
    • Aspects of quality include fitness for purpose, freedom from minor defects, appearance and finish, durability and safety.
    • It is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is responsible if goods do not conform to contract.
    • If goods do not conform to contract at the time of sale, purchasers can request their money back "within a reasonable time". (This is not defined and will depend on circumstances)
    • For up to six years after purchase (five years from discovery in Scotland) purchasers can demand damages (which a court would equate to the cost of a repair or replacement).
    • A purchaser who is a consumer, i.e. is not buying in the course of a business, can alternatively request a repair or replacement.
    • If repair and replacement are not possible or too costly, then the consumer can seek a partial refund, if they have had some benefit from the good, or a full refund if the fault/s have meant they have enjoyed no benefit
    • In general, the onus is on all purchasers to prove the goods did not conform to contract (e.g. was inherently faulty) and should have reasonably lasted until this point in time (i.e. perishable goods do not last for six years).
    • If a consumer chooses to request a repair or replacement, then for the first six months after purchase it will be for the retailer to prove the goods did conform to contract (e.g. were not inherently faulty)
    • After six months and until the end of the six years, it is for the consumer to prove the lack of conformity.
     
  7. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Locksmith, I just do not know what to say :Confused: I know what they should do but it does not sound like they are going to do it :Eeek::swear: I think the easiest way is to let your insurance sort it out :thumb: but that does not g/tee you will not loose your no claims bonus
    Personally I would be up there in a shot threatening him with violence unless -- then again it would end up with me being arrested :Eeek: but I would have a good feeling for a moment and plenty of time to reflect on my actions :Sad::Rofl1: GOOD LUCK :thumb: and I hope they do the right thing, but not holding my breath--- how big a firm is this BTW ?
    terry
    is this them ?
    http://www.armitagetrailers.com/
    let your ins take them to court or find a no win no fee jobby
     
  8. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Hi Locksmith,

    Firstly, let me say, poor you, what an absolute bummer, you and your son must be gutted. I really do hope all gets sorted out real soon.

    Can I ask though, as I am a little confused?

    I too am an aframe user, but it is my understanding that my car has no brake modifications carried out, merely a cable connected to the brake pedal that pulls taught when brakes in the motorhome are applied.

    No bungee straps but a stiff spring to ensure that the pedal returns. What was your set up? and how can he say he fitted a brake line that may of kinked?

    I just really don't understand how this could of happened? the Aframe set up I have is just so so simplified.

    Really would be interested, thanks,

    And again I really hope all is sorted out ASAP.

    Haggers
     
  9. Locksmith

    Locksmith Read Only Funster

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    Thank you, has been nice to catch up with some friends on here and I will pass your kind words on to Mandy.:thumb:
     
  10. Locksmith

    Locksmith Read Only Funster

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    Yes that's them. but they hide behind their secretary's phone and are about 170 miles from me. thanks for your kind input
     
  11. Locksmith

    Locksmith Read Only Funster

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    It's the cable through the front of the smart car to the back of the brake pedal that he pointed out and I have a picture of him taking a picture of it. I only saw the cable after the fire with a kink in it so there was no outer cable as it was burnt but I assume it had one.
     
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  12. motor roamin

    motor roamin Funster

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    They will have a hard job worming out of that one, every thing is timed and documented, becarefull if you claim off your insurance as they are not always to bothered about fighting your corner and just accept liability pay out and hit your premiums, I made that mistake many years ago when I believed my insurance was on my side.

    Good luck keep us posted as I am sure we would all like to know the out come, always worth talking to their local paper as the resulting publicity can't be good for them.

    All the best Rick.
     
  13. Road Runner

    Road Runner Read Only Funster

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    Not much help in your case but I have a Brian Cox frame. Someone bumper to bumper parked into my toad and bent the brake lead. On connecting up it was tighter after being bent and slowly had the brakes binding on. I to had smoke billowing out from the wheel arches but luckily no fire.

    Glad your both safe though and poor show seeing as your car had just had the frame fitted.

    Hope you get satisfaction soon.
     
  14. kickstart

    kickstart Funster

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    So sorry to hear about your problem,I dont know if it will help but I for one intend to write to Armatage telling them that I am looking to buy a smart car and as they are local (30 miles) am thinking about them for my A frame,but as a member of a major motorhome forum have read about a fellow members problem and will now wait to see how his problem is sorted out Before proceeding as others may feel the same.
     
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  15. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Jeez Locksmith,
    I was told about this by Claire at Ipswich Smarts the other day :-(
    Thank goodness you managed to get the van unhooked and clear...

    I do hope to goodness you get it sorted out ok.. I fervently believe if this goes any where near a court you will be fine
     
  16. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    I like the idea :thumb: you could always point them to the forum as it would be interesting to see if they value their reputation enough to tell members what they are going to do about it :Wink:Don't know if they could claim off their insurance,or the ins may already be wriggling :Eeek:Either way I would not use this company for anything as it stands and as such bad news travels a lot faster than good
    terry
     
  17. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Hi Locksmith, sorry to hear about this terrible incident, especially on top of your initial problems. Lucky that the lorry driver alerted you soon enough. Whatever happens I hope you are back on the road soon. :Smile:
     
  18. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    What a bu**er. Glad no-one was injured & hope it can be sorted soon.
     
  19. Squire

    Squire Read Only Funster

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    In the circumstances I think all that is quite uneccessary - they won't need to be told - if the report is truthful and accurate (and I have no doubt it is) then Armitages will know where the blame lies without it having to be spelled out. A deaf and dumb blind man would !
     
  20. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    However, him knowing and getting a result are not always the same thing.

    From his point of view, he will be being briefed by his insurers for sure, even if he is honest. They will be saying deny liability, sounds like why he has already changed his mind.
    Insurance companies are there to make money and dont care who they upset in the process.


    I really hope they see it the way of the OP, but I suspect a long and dirty fight,:Angry:
     
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