John always gets his car repaired at Mikes Auto. He has been going there for 7 years and takes his car there for repairs and service about twice a year. As he enters the door of Mikes there is a sign on the wall behind the counter that says, All vehicles are accepted for repair subject to the terms and conditions appearing in our invoice. The sign is on white paper (A4) with Black writing, next to it are numerous advertisements for products sold at Mikes auto. John never read the sign, he always dropped off his car on his way to work and was in a hurry. When he returned to pick up his car the attendant would hand him an invoice to sign. This had his name on it, the details of the car and the work done. The invoice stated:
1. The customer acknowledges that the agreed repair work has been satisfactorily performed.
2. Mikes Auto regrets that no responsibility can be accepted for damage or loss caused to the customers cars by fire, theft or otherwise.
On the occasion in question John left his car for some repair work to be done and followed the usual routine set out above. When he returned to pick it up the next morning he signed the invoice as above and went out into the yard to collect his car. To his shock he found that the GPS navigation system fitted to the car was missing and the car clearly showed signs of being in an accident.The evidence shows that overnight thieves had broken into Mikes Auto and stolen the GPS
system from the car. Johns car was not locked, however, Mikes Auto was locked and the alarm was on but the thieves managed to disarm the alarm system and get past the locks: it was alleged it was an inside job but this could not be proven. In addition, during the previous day the manager needed to go to a meeting. The car yard was full of cars that day that were in for repairs and he could not get his own car out without having to move many cars. Johns car was over near the curb so he decided to take it to get to his Page 2 of 3 meeting. By this time the repair work had been done and the manager thought it would be good to see how it was running before John picked it up. He drove the car to his meeting and parked it outside the cafe where the meeting was being held. While at the meeting someone ran into the car causing damage to the rear of the car. They then drove off and were never identified.
John seeks your advice as to whether Mike would be protected by the clauses in the invoice if John were to take action against Mikes Auto. Answer this question by reference to general principles of common law. Do not consider any statutory provisions you might think relevant.
word limit: 600
reference: footnote system
Preferred: IRAC structure to answer the question