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If the charge is much higher than the estimate, or if the work was done without your authorization and you feel that you have been overcharged, question the bill.


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Have the shop write out the reasons for the difference in cost, and keep this written explanation together with the work estimate, final bill, and other paperwork. Make sure the mechanic returns your old parts. The mechanic may return some parts, such as alternators and brake shoes, to the parts supplier for a refund, so you may not be able to get all of them.

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Even if you are unsatisfied with the mechanic's explanation of the difference between the estimate and the final charge, keep in mind that if you refuse to pay a repair bill -- even a bill in dispute -- the mechanic has the legal right to keep your car until you pay. If you suspect that the repair shop has not properly repaired the vehicle or charged you too much and you can't get them to resolve the problem to your satisfaction, your first step should be to take your car to another repair shop. Give the second mechanic a copy of your itemized receipt and order an inspection of the alleged repairs and parts.

Get this report in writing. If you notice the same problem with your car is recurring, or find a new problem that should not have arisen, you will be in a better position to negotiate a refund from the first mechanic if you get a second mechanic's opinion of the work done in writing. If you paid by credit card and are unhappy with the repairs that were performed by the mechanic, then you may dispute the charge with your credit card company.

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To dispute the charge, you must do so in writing to your credit card company and it must be done within 60 days after you have received the credit card bill. Make sure you send the dispute letter and all relevant information receipts and documentation supporting your position to the billing inquiry address and not the payment address. The credit card company will let you know whether they agree with you or not.

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For more information on this subject, you can go to the FTC website. File Consumer Complaint Online. Javascript must be enabled for the correct page display Skip to main content. Consumer Protection File a Consumer Complaint.

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Search Keywords. Car Repair Tips. Choosing a Car Repair Shop You need your car, and when you leave it in the shop for repairs, you can't help worrying about the cost and the quality of the work that's going on under the hood.


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Under the law, it is illegal to: knowingly make a false or misleading statement about the need for parts, replacement or repair service; state that work has been done or parts were replaced when that is not true; represent that goods are original or new, when in fact they are second-hand or refurbished; and advertise goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised.

Authorizations to Inspect and to Repair You should get a written authorization to tow, inspect, test drive, diagnose, or disassemble any part of your car for the purposes of providing an estimate of repair costs, prior to the action being taken.

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Things You Should Not Do You should not allow your car to be inspected, disassembled, or lifted up on a rack until you have obtained a copy of the inspection authorization forms with your signature showing the information outlined above. You should not leave valuables in your car. Many car contracts have mandatory arbitration clauses to settle disputes, so that may be your next step. Get the rules specific to where you live from your state attorney general or consumer protection office. Mandatory arbitration clauses are phrases written into contracts that state that if you have a dispute with a company, you must resolve it through arbitration.

These clauses can prevent you from filing a lawsuit against a company. Arbitration clauses are fairly common in automotive, credit card, and cell phone contracts. But now, they are appearing in website terms and conditions statements, coupons, or corporate social media profiles. While arbitration can be less expensive, it is sometimes seen as unfair to make arbitration a requirement before a negative incident has happened or knowing how serious the problem is.

Also, note that some companies may let you opt-out of these clauses, if you do so within 30 days. Ask us any question about the U. We'll get you the answer or tell you where to find it.

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