My name is Edward McGowan.
I was born with a physical disability called arthrogryposis and I am a wheelchair user.
In March 2018, I decided to change my car. I approached a garage who specialises in wheelchair adapted vehicles. After a few visits to them I decided to purchase a van from them. I paid €20,000 for a Mercedes sprinter van and the adaptations that had to be done to it. I did not receive the van until October 2018.
Around August 2019 approximately, problems started to arise with the van, it wouldn’t start and due to the emergency key been put down at my feet on the right hand side of the van, I could not reach it and I had to get my colleagues from work to try and start the van for me by turning the key. I found this very hard to do- having to depend on other people when this van was supposed to help me be independent. In September 2019 the problem got worse and I had to take the car to the garage to get fixed and I had to ring my insurance company to get a tow truck as I was unable to get the van started. They had it for a week and said that the problem was sorted but over the next few weeks the problem continued on and off. This increased my anxiety as I was unsure every day on when I was going to get my vehicle back.
If it was raining I would have to get a lift down to work in a taxi and then over time my dad ended up selling his car and bought a wheelchair accessible car so he could give me a lift to my work when it was raining. and also if I needed to go shopping, i would have to rely on my dad and other people to either take me shopping or do my shopping for me. I have been unable to go out any time I want to, other than to go down to my work or the local shops, this has caused severe anxiety and stress to my personal, and emotional Wellbeing!
I had phoned the garage a number of occasions to find out what was happening with my van and when it will be fixed and when I will get it back. I had to ask the receptionist to get somebody to call me back as soon as, and most of the phone calls that I received from the garage which were very few were mainly to reply to my calls. On one occasion I had phoned the garage mid July 2020 and I spoke to a person dealing with my car and he had been saying that my car had been sent to a third person that knew what the problem was. I was told by this member of staff from the garage that the man that knew what the problem was, would only taken a couple of days to fix the problem, this was in July 2020. The person in the garage would not give me contact details of the third party and I offered my contact details for the garage person to pass on to the third person who allegedly had my van. The person in the garage refused to pass on my details to this third party.
Due to lack of communication from the garage, I sought out a solicitor and then I received a phone call from the manager of the garage two weeks after the first Solicitors letter, he said the same thing that he said to me when my van went into the garage on May 27th, and was not able to give me a timeline of when I will get my van back.
My solicitor has now sent a number of letters to the garage over the last two months.The Manager of the garage phoned my Solicitor on the 12th October, saying that my van is back at his garage and it can be picked up after its paid for. He also said he only received one letter from my Solicitor. That is roughly 5 months the garage has had my van and I do not know who had my van, where my van was, or what was done with it after I left it in the garage.
I wish for somebody to please help me ! I want my life back and my independence. Can you please help? I am looking for a refund from the garage who sold me a van that is not fit for purpose!
My solicitor has said I will need at least €4000 upfront for the barrister and solicitors fee to go to court. I did not want to go down this route but due to circumstances I felt I had no choice!
I am unable to travel to places, I have to depend on others to do my shopping and take me to appointments etc. My independence has been lost!
This is seriously impacting on my mental health and Well- being!
When I win my case I intend to give the money I collect to charity.
Please if you could help me get my independence back by donating what you can afford and also if you could share this to all your friends and family, I would very much appreciate it.
Thank you, stay safe,
- Cliona Campion
- Gerry Durkin
- Mark Evans
- Lucie Walsh
- Karen Dolan