Suing a Car Repair Shop: When You Can and How-Tos
As a car owner, repairs are one of those many things you will go through at some point. However, finding a reputable car repair shop with great value for money may not always be so easy. What’s even worse is, mistakes and shortcuts done by the mechanic may not be immediately evident — until something happens.
In this article, we’ll help you become an informed customer. You’ll get to know the laws that protect your consumer rights and the actions you can take when these rights are violated by your car mechanic. We’ll also introduce you to DoNotPay, the world’s first AI lawyer that makes suing anyone easy.
Know Auto Repair Laws
You’ve probably heard about the Lemon Law and the Right to Repair Act but how do these terms relate to you? Depending on which state you are in, some legislation protects your rights as a customer of car repair shops. The table below is not exhaustive but here are some of the most common laws:
|Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act AKA Lemon Law||Requires car dealers or manufacturers to refund or replace a vehicle it if cannot be repaired after a “reasonable” number of attempt i.e. four or more attempts within 18 months||New Car Lemon Law: All 50 states|
|Used Car Lemon Law: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island|
|Automotive Repair Act||Requires repair shops to provide an accurate estimate of fees for labor costs and parts, and cannot proceed without the car owner’s permission||California
|Deceptive Trade Practices–Consumer Protection Act (DTPA)||Although it does not exclusively apply solely to car repair shops, this law prohibits repair shops from making false statements such as a need for repair or replacement||Texas|
|Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act||Requires manufacturers to allow consumers to repair their vehicle at any car repair shop and not only at the dealership||New Jersey
Montana (separate bills for farm equipment and all electronic equipment)
Five Reasons You Can Sue a Mechanic
Taking your car to the repair shop is a cumbersome process in itself. Aside from the car, there are other things you need to worry about: the cost of the repair, the delays it will cause, and whether the mechanic can salvage the car. There are mechanics out there who are professional and honest in their work. But what do you do if you end up going to a shady one? When can you (and can’t you) sue a mechanic? Here are five valid reasons for suing a car repair shop:
- Bad repair work – A poorly fixed vehicle is a danger to you and other drivers on the road. If the car repair shop ineffectively installs a car part, mangles a safety feature, or makes the correct repairs, you have a case.
- Lack of or erroneous estimates – In most states, car repair shops are required by law to provide accurate estimates before working on a car. You may file a lawsuit if the repair shop refuses to give you a quote or honor the estimate.
- Breach of warranty – You may sue a mechanic if he/she fails to honor the warranty in the car repair or the costs.
- Fraud – If you discover that the mechanic charged you for parts that were not replaced or a service that was not provided, you may sue for damages.
- Illegal use of mechanic’s lien – If the car shop failed to follow the rules in filing a mechanic’s lien, you may sue the car repair shop or repossess your vehicle.
Tips for Suing a Car Repair Shop in Small Claims Court
If you find that you have a lawsuit in your hands and you have grounds to sue a car repair shop, you may do so in small claims court. Suing in small claims court comes with fewer costs because of inexpensive filing fees, no need for lawyers, and faster processes. Here are some of our tips for suing a mechanic in small claims court:
- Make sure you sue the right business entity – Figure out the right business or person to sue by looking at receipts or contact information for the car repair shop.
- Get an estimate of the repair – Find out how much it will cost for the repair shop to fix the damage that they caused. Get the estimate in writing as this can be part of the damages that can be awarded to you.
- Document everything – Prepare all the evidence that will support your case. This includes contracts, receipts, expert opinions from other professional mechanics, and others.
Steps to Suing a Car Repair Shop
So you’ve decided to sue a mechanic shop but you’re not sure where to start. The small claims hearing is scheduled 30-70 days after the lawsuit is filed. Below are the steps you have to go through when suing a car repair shop in small claims court:
- Consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) before suing in small claims.
- Prepare the evidence, fill in the form, pay for them, and file the lawsuit.
- Notify the car repair shop that you have sued in writing.
- Attend the small claims hearing.
How to Sue a Mechanic with DoNotPay
Suing anyone isn’t always a straightforward process. DoNotPay simplifies the process for you. All you have to do is access the app via any web browser. After that, follow these steps to sue a mechanic:
- Log-in to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now Product
- Enter the dollar amount you are owed
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Choose the reason for the lawsuit as a “Breach of Contract or Broken Promise” and submit any applicable details, including photo proof
How easy was that? Not only can DoNotPay mail the letter for you, we’ll fill out some basic information on your state or local small claims court filing form if you decide to move forward.
DoNotPay Helps You Sue Any Company
Interested in learning more? Here are some big-name companies DoNotPay users have sued with the Sue Now product: