Can a car repair shop fix a car without permission?

I had my vehicle towed to a repair shop to have a estimate done on my car. They called and told me it needed a new transmission and it would cost $1600. So I told them id call around to find if anyone was cheaper due to not having the $1600. Well about 2 days later they called me to tell me my car was ready to pick up. So what do I do since I didn’t give permission for my vehicle to be fixed?

Asked on August 14, 2012 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If  you can show that they charged you substantially more than it should have cost, then based on the lack of permission by you, you'd have a good case for not having to pay the difference between what it should have cost and what it did cost--though note: if they refuse to voluntarily settle with you, you will almost certainly find yourself in litigation with the repair shop (i.e. they may sue you for  the money; refuse to turn over  your car until you pay, which would lead to you suing them; etc.), which could easily eat up any cost savings or  price difference.

If their price is in the ballpark, your best bet is to pay; while they did technically act without permission, if you received fair value, a court would not let you have your car repaired without paying for it, even if there was some dispute over authorization.

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