10 January 2006 Click here to read supporting document
Letter from DWF
21 March 2007 Click here to read letter from MB Maastricht
Stuart Buckle wrote to my solicitor saying that “Following previous correspondence and my meeting with Mondial today” he summarised M B’s offer to date and explained that “Your client’s vehicle has also not depreciated as much as normal given that its mileage and wear and tear has not changed since being delivered to MB Chelsea”. He wrote that if I did not collect it legal action would be taken against me under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977.” He also confirmed again that there was no warranty on goodwill repairs.
23 March 2007 – Click here to read: Solicitors letter
My solicitor advised me that, as my bill for legal costs had reached £13,204.52, if I were able to meet M B half-way on the outstanding matters I should accept the offer set out in Stuart Buckle’s letter of 21 March. But why should I when the damage had been caused by MB Chelsea’s workshop, not me?
25 March 2007
I wrote to Stuart Buckle setting out my position to date and said that I believed his letter to be a “concoction of truths, half truths, suppositions, mistakes and “spin”. I also reiterated that my car had been driven from its parking space in Long Yard to the car-transporter, which was sufficient evidence to prove that the major damage to the electrical system had happened whilst my car was in the possession of M B Chelsea’s workshop.
My solicitor replied to Stuart Buckle’s letter of 21 March, which included the depreciation figure of £5,450 and repeated my request for an independent inspection of my vehicle to be reconsidered by M-B. He also pointed out that it was disingenuous for M-B to suggest that my vehicle had been available for collection since March 2006.
13 April 2007 – Click here to read: revised offer
M-B’s final offer might on the face of it sound very generous. However £1,000 for 16 months’ depreciation and £10,000 towards my legal costs would by this time have left me seriously out of pocket. Although the £6,640 which M-B had wanted from me in 2006 was a lesser amount why should I have been out of pocket at any stage when I – and at least three M B employees if not more – knew that I had not damaged my car.
At this point I ran out of money to pay for any more legal advice. However, I then started going back over previous ground and looked again at the documentation of the recovery service Olympic Recovery, acting as Mondial’s agent.
17 September 2007 – Click here to read: Letter from Olympic Recovery
Olympic Recovery was contacted by my Sister, who replied in a letter: “Because of the distinctive number plate John Kayia (Controller and Technician) does remember an enquiry being made by Mondial (Mercedes Assistance) with regards to how we carried the recovery of the car on their behalf. I have found the invoice for the recovery and the date tells me that any enquiry would have been made early 2006 and I would have thought that we would have responded fairly quickly … it was a simple and straight forward recovery and therefore would not stick in your mind.”
19 September 2007 – 19 September 2007 MB letter
I e-mailed to Stewart Buckle, M B Legal Executive, M B UK Head Office, enquiring why no authority had been sought from me to repair damage to my car said to have been caused by me. I requested copies of all work sheets/job-sheets/letters/memo’s pertaining to my car in any way.
20 September 2007 Click here to read MB letter
In his e-mail reply Stuart Buckle wrote: “Authority is obtained from customers wherever possible, but where a car is effectively “marooned” in our workshops/sites, work has to be effected in order to be able to move the vehicle out of the workshop and around the site whilst resolution of a disagreement is sought”. He went on to say:.
“1. In respect of your e-mail of yesterdays date, I do not agree the “information that the damages was “discovered” on the 30th November is new information” to you. MB Chelsea informed you at the time in question, to which you have refused to pay for the necessary repairs thereafter and I shared with you and your former solicitor copies of our [Mediation] meeting on the 20th October  which confirms this. I am happy to send you copies in due course, in the meanwhile I outline details from the technicians examination report following receipt of your vehicle by MB Chelsea on the 30th November 2005 (nb the text in brackets are my explanation of the abbreviations for you assistance).
2. “push into w/shop- battery charge but non start- no systems responding to DAS trace (this is a diagnostic test) 5 blown fuses- replace and recode ES switch- major faults caused by wrong connection before being brought here- F/SAM unit smells burn out (front signal acquisition unit- this is the type of fuse box/control unit communicator) -alternator not charging- renew main fuse unit- reprogram main control units…
3. I therefore question how your vehicle was delivered to MB Chelsea in a non-start breakdown condition with extensive electrical damage and with amongst other things, five blown fuses, main SAM unit damaged and smelling burnt out and main control units requiring reprogramming?
4. In respect of your letter of 18 September 2007 (now received with thanks), whether or not Olympic recovery use (or do use) a “Mega Boost MB700” jump start unit on 30 November I do not know, nor have any information on. In taking this point you raised, if they did, and if they did so correctly (because as you say, this apparently has surge protection and polarity protection built in, so miss handling is unlikely and cannot generate the electrical surge to your vehicle) noted upon its delivery to MB Chelsea as above. In addition, you may be interested to learn that MB Chelsea use jump start equipment recommended by Mercedes-Benz, which also has surge/polarity protection”.
This is in fact an extremely badly written letter which I find difficult to believe was written by a lawyer, although it was certainly signed by one. My experience tells me that it is more likely to have been written by a workshop employee. However, I wonder how well Stuart Buckle read this letter before signing it. For example in his third point he states: “I therefore question how your vehicle was delivered to MB Chelsea in a non-start breakdown condition with extensive electrical damage and with amongst other things, five blown fuses, main SAM unit damaged and smelling burnt out and main control units requiring reprogramming?” This had been my argument all along.
Why did Stuart Buckle write: “then that only leaves you (or maybe a neighbour/other party known to you) as the cause of the jump start damage sustained to your vehicle” when he knew that Olympic Recovery’s report stated that the car had been driven into M B Chelsea’s car-park? He knew this hypothesis to be totally unjustified.
Why had Stuart Buckle immediately after 20 October 2006 not gone straight back to his office and set into motion an investigation about the lie which he had been told and to rectify the serious damage which had been done to a customer and to M B’s reputation? As there was clearly a serious dispute over events and a customer who was not backing down because he believed himself to be the victim of a cover-up at M B Chelsea’s workshop, surely the obvious course for DaimlerChrysler Customer Assistance Centre and/or Legal Department would have been to seek an independent and definitive view, ie the report of the recovery company even if they really had up until then failed to read the two reports which M B had already received. It would have saved them time and trouble and me great expense and stress as the innocent victim in this tragic farce which continues to this day. If they did seek an independent view, then their actions and findings were faulty and they demonstrated incompetence. If they did not seek an independent review, then their actions were even more serious: they were criminal.
But even more worryingly why were Olympic Recovery’s two reports not disclosed before the trial when 1. Martin Buhagiar in a telephone conversation with me on 12 January 2006 had referred to the first paragraph of Olympic Recovery’s first report; 2. the Daimler/Chrysler Customer Assistance Centre in Maastrict had been able to produce a copy on its computer on 10 January 2006; and 3. Stuart Buckle had known of its existence at Mediation, if not beforehand?
These two reports clearly absolve me of any blame and M B’s demand for £6,640 from me was clearly criminal as it was a deliberate Attempt by One or More Persons to Defraud me. Had these reports been disclosed when they should have there would have been no trial as the liability for the damage to my car was the sole responsibility of Mercedes-Benz Retail UK.
Is this not Collusion to Pervert the Course of Justice? The evidence to me certainly meets the civil criterion of “On the Balance of Probabilities” and but also the criminal criterion of “Beyond all Reasonable Doubt”. I don’t know what a judge would think.
But why was Stuart Buckle writing this letter in the first place when he knew on 20 October 2006 at mediation, even if not before, that the car had been driven into M B Chelsea’s car-park ? A course of action for which I can find no reason whatsoever. Why not follow the course of natural justice and follow Mercedes Benz’s highly-publicised commitment to “Champion the highest quality customer service”.
17 October 2007 Click here to read supporting document
I requested a report on the likely cause of the damage to my vehicle from a consultant forensic engineer, J S Rennie TD, CEng, MIMechE. His conclusion was: “… on which basis I take the view that the Defendant [M B] ought to be regarded as liable for the damage caused to the Claimants [R Carlyle] vehicle”.
I forwarded J S Rennie’s report to Stuart Buckle, enquiring whether in view of this report M B would be prepared to discuss a settlement.
29 October 2007
I and all parties received a memorandum from HH District Judge C W Vokes which stated:
“It is clearly important for the 2nd Defendant [Mercedes-Benz] to consider and indicate to the court and the parties whether they admit that the call that day was made to them by the Claimants [R Carlyle]. If that is admitted then they should consider whether they accept, should the court find it is the roadside contractor who caused the powerful surge, that they are liable for that sub contractor’s actions”.
This means, in effect, that M B is liable for the damage even if the recovery company did the damage under the Vicarious Liability precedents (Servants and Agents).
In his reply to my letter to him of 25 October Stuart Buckle wrote: “Had you not have declined our reasonable offers of settlement, then this matter could have been concluded at least a year ago”.
5 November 2007 – Click here to read supporting document
I wrote to Dr Wilfried Steffen, President and CEO, Mercedes Benz UK, and was informed that all correspondence had to be sent to Stuart Buckle. I have no idea whether or not he set up an internal enquiry as I would have expected of someone in his position. In view of future events I think he probably did not. Yet here was a case of a customer persistently insisting that he had been wrongly treated by M B staff, so much so that he was taking M B to court and that his case was eventually successful. What happened to Dr Wilfried Steffen’s promise to “Champion the highest quality customer service”? It was meaningless in my case and again I ask the question why did he not act?
12 November 2007 – Click here to read supporting document
M B’s Legal Department replied to Judge Vokes’ memorandum in a four-page, unattributed letter which included:
The Defendant’s (M-B) position is clear in that it took receipt of the vehicle in an already damaged condition.
No doubt the Court will wish to consider that if Olympic Recovery simply recovered the vehicle without carrying out any jump start, then again that leaves the Claimant [R Carlyle] (or maybe a neighbour/other party known to the Claimant) as the cause of the jump start damage sustained by the vehicle.
The lie repeated yet again as I have already proved that Stuart Buckle knew by mediation on 20 October 2006, if not before, that my vehicle had been started by the recovery agents and had been driven into MB Chelsea’s workshop’s car-park. This was a continuing attempt to defraud me. So why was he still persisting in repeating a lie rather than dealing with the member of staff who had initiated this lie?
5 December 2007 – Click here to read: Court document
The Court wrote me: “There are no documents disclosed which record how Olympic Recovery were instructed”…. ” Who did the contractor invoice?”.
I have a copy of an invoice dated 5 December 2005 from M-B MobiloLife [warranty company] with an M-B Chelsea stamp on it for the cost of the recovery on 30 November 2005. This document also has a signature, not mine and a confusing “Warranty” and “no” written in the note section. This shows that M-B therefore had paid the recovery company under the Warranty which I had been given. Had the damage been discovered, as M B claimed, on 30 November 2005, the cost of the recovery would have been my responsibility and would not have been paid by M B on 5 December 2005. This document proves that at 5 December 2005 my car was ‘undamaged’.
On 29 October 2007 HH District Judge C W Vokes had clearly stated: “This means, in effect, that M B are liable for the damage even if the recovery company did the damage under the Vicarious Liability precedents (Servants and Agents”). In law, Mercedes-Benz was liable for all the damage to my vehicle whether or not it had been caused by themselves or the recovery contractors.