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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:13 am
Posts: 2
How The London Petroleum Gas Company Ltd now trading as Sovereign Classics Ltd butchered my car – then closed the company to avoid the damages!!

If you are wondering what can go wrong with an LPG conversion, read on, mine was all your horrors rolled into one:

I put my Jaguar XJR in for an LPG conversion in September 2007. I paid £950 up front for purchasing the kit and was promised my car back in “3-5 days”. I’d owned the car for a year and it was great, it had run problem free throughout that time. When I booked it in the garage put a fault code reader on it – no problems, they took it for an MOT and it passed with an advisory on the rear tyre approaching the tread limit - no other problems at all.

Then they started work on it….

Three months later, after issues getting the supercharger off and accessing the manifold with the throttle body pushed to one side (he said he had to wait for an issue of “Classic Jaguar” to come out to help believe it or not!) they finally fitted the conversion and tried starting the engine. It firstly misfired and they had to take it apart again to put longer injector “straws” closer to the intake (they left these extra holes in the manifold when they gave me back the broken car). They then couldn't get the gear box out of park mode and further fault codes came up: Lo brake Fluid, Handbrake on, no traction, no asc, and gearbox fault.

They removed the gearbox solenoid (they also left this off when they gave me my car back) but couldn’t get rid of the fault codes. They came to the conclusion that it can’t have been anything they’d done but a problem with the dashboard and asked me to buy a replacement dashboard. This didn’t solve the problem. They then tried to blame a faulty ECU, then a Low battery, then (unbelievably) said the car must have been in a flood and sailed down a river somewhere with “all these flash floods we’ve been having”! They messed me about for months, taking it to Jaguar (who didn’t fix it) and leaving it at the back of their garage because as they had “other jobs that they said were worth more money to them than mine (another Jaguar rebuild that was also late) and that “was just business sense”. I asked again and again during which time they screened my calls so I had to either withhold my number or use someone else’s phone to get in touch with them.

They tried putting on the LPG kit again in April (we were now 7 months into the conversion). With the LPG reconnected, the car brought up the fault codes again and they said that it was something inherently wrong with the car. When I asked him how this could have happened they said it was “just one of those things”!

They then said that as they had tried to put the conversion on that I should pay the rest of the money for the conversion, get it fixed somewhere and bring it back to finish the conversion. As my car now didn’t work at all I told them I’d get in touch with a solicitor. The next thing I knew was the Police knocking on my door saying that they had had a phone call from the proprietor’s (Roy Kingsley Marsh) wife and that they forbade me going on holiday with the courtesy car.

I then got in touch with my solicitor. He said that what had happened “beggared belief”. He said that there was a clear breach of contract and that I should ask for the car back, get it fixed and claim the cost back from the London Petroleum Gas Company. The solicitor wrote a letter to the company asking for an exchange of cars. Roy Marsh refused to let me have my car back stating that he had installed the LPG conversion (I later found out they had removed it again so they could use the parts elsewhere) and were entitled to the money for the conversion. He also said that he “didn’t have to do anything that some solicitor told him to do”. My solicitor then filed a suit against the company suing for damages done to the car, breach of contract and unlawful possession of my car (the civil equivalent of theft).

True to form, the London Petroleum Gas Company didn’t respond to the court and the decision against them was given by default. He finally got in touch with his insurance, who made a motion to have the judgment set aside pending an expert’s review of the car. This was arranged for about September (now a year into the saga). When the expert came to look at the car they couldn’t give a decisive answer to the cause of the problems as the London Petroleum Gas Company had removed all traces of the conversion from the car (helpfully leaving the extra holes in the manifold and body work and all the faults of course) and had to say that the car should be taken for diagnosis before a conclusive decision could be made as to the cause. I didn’t have the money to take it to Jaguar so I shipped it on a Low Loader to a Jaguar specialist local to Bexley who started taking apart the engine – the unbelievable result of which is shown in the attached report - mmm don't know how to do this??

It came out in court that the car had been running in limp mode when the court inspector had first viewed it. Afterwards, it looked like the car had been drained of oil, run until the camshaft seized and the oil put back. The key fob had been reprogrammed and it’s batteries were removed so it could not be tested before leaving the LPG garage. Therefore by the time the Jaguar specialist had received it it was a write off. The inspector mentioned suspected sabotage in his second report.

The court ordered that the courtesy car I had been given and my car be swapped. I actually hadn’t been able to use the courtesy car for a couple of months as the tax had run out and the Roy Marsh had refused to re-tax it, even when asked to by the court. This meant that I’d had to buy another car to get me about.

As an aside, this courtesy car was actually the third I had been given. The first had developed a flat battery and needed to be run every day or it would discharge. He then gave me a Daimler (which the LPG garage had put a new engine in). Many of the covers and screws etc were still off and the car overheated on me on the A1 as the hoses hadn’t been fitted correctly. I had to take it to a garage to fix who said that the engine wiring was ”a right mess”. The third they gave me was a Cherokee jeep. Again, true to form, this didn’t keep the charge in the battery, the wheel bearing was grinding, the tailgate wouldn’t open and the driver’s side mirror was held on with brown parcel tape!

It finally came to court. I gave my evidence and was praised by his barrister and the judge for the way in which I presented my evidence and my statement. He gave his evidence and was slated by my barrister and the judge who I believe described his evidence as “fanciful”. A couple of the things that came out were:

1. He had put the car in for an MOT for me when he first got it, but when I got the car back, 250 miles had been put on the clock since the MOT – he firstly tried to blame this on the court inspector reading the odometer incorrectly. Then when my barrister pointed out that his own assessor had given the same reading, he tried to blame the MOT centre for putting an incorrect mileage on the certificate because the car had a low tyre tread!!!
2. He admitted in court that his wife wrote his witness statement that he swore to was his own.
3. He claimed he was a member of the LPGA which he wasn’t
4. He claimed he was a Prins approved installer which he wasn’t

And many other things besides

I received the judgment against the company which basically covered the costs of the vehicle and court costs but nothing for the amount of time I had spent with the hassle for 18 months.

You may think that that was that and I had my money back – but he closed the company to avoid payment and his website now showed him trading through his other company Sovereign Classics Ltd at the same address doing exactly the same thing, falsely claiming to be a member of the same associations and even using the adverts and credits for his original company on the website !! - I think the LPGA claim has been taken off now!

So started another couple of months trying to get the damages out of him. Luckily there is a law whereby you can go after the insurers directly if a company refuses to pay their court liabilities. I eventually received about 90% of the damages awarded, not the full 100%. I don’t believe the company was insured against professional liability, only the cheaper public liability, meaning that anything that was down to his work is not covered, therefore I didn’t get back the initial deposit (£950) I paid them.

I put this story on the web so you can make an informed decision about with whom you want to trust your car. From personal experience, I couldn’t really recommend the London Petroleum Gas Company, Roy Kingsley Marsh (the proprietor and main mechanic) or his other company Sovereign Classics Ltd.

The garage itself is a small overcrowded compound in Tanyard Lane at the back of Bexley High Street (view the satellite image on Google maps), that doesn’t have a ramp only trolley jacks. I know of three other people who have had problems there. In my association with the London Petroleum Gas Company and Roy Marsh I have been lied to, accused of insurance fraud, called names, had my calls screened and tried to have extra money added to my bill.

Maybe some of their conversions go to plan, they wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t, but I think my experience proves that if things do go wrong you may as well kiss goodbye to your car as they will definitely try and kiss goodbye to you and they probably won’t be properly insured either.

I’m afraid the London Petroleum Gas Company gets no stars!!!

Good luck if you use them.

I can't figure out how to post the images for the report I got from the jag specialist - any ideas?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:13 am
Posts: 2
Hello again, I thought I'd update my post with what else has happened since. As mentioned I still have £950 outstanding from the CCJ which he seems to have no intention paying of course. He's trying to close the original company down but I keep objecting to it on the ground that he hasn't paid the company's debts, the bailiffs are instructed so we'll see how that pans out. I also put this story on pissedconsumer and had a reply from someone who also took the company to court. He also had problems with a conversion done by this company which they also denied was their fault. He was due to go to court on the 25th Jan 2010 but told me that the insurance company settled out of court the week before.

Then, last week, I received 3 replies to the other blog saying how "unfair" I was and then a couple of days later at 10pm at night 3 phone calls from the garage owner who left a message calling me names saying I wasnt "man enough to talk to him" and blaming the 3 replies to the other blog on his daughter. I kept this message and reported it to the police in case he tries something else, I've also decided to put cameras around where I live for the same reason. Another blog on this forum describes him as "the angry man" and that seems to be panning out as I received another call from him yesterday but didn't answer. I'll keep you updated.

All the best

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:01 pm
Posts: 23
Location: North Wales
Bloody hell, and I thought I was unlucky, I hope you get things resolved eventually. Your story shows the problem of choosing a (tradesman) for any job, how to get someone who knows what they are doing and will not rip you off. The only way I know of is by recommendation, failing that, it's pot luck.

Jaguar XJ 3.2 V8 with AG-SGI LPG system.

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