Can an auto mechanic charge you more than what he quoted you?

We got a quote from a mechanic to rebuild the engine in our car. He has had the car for over 2 months and he told us it would take a couple of weeks. Now he is charging us $600 more than the quote. Can he do that? Do we have any legal recourse?

Asked on December 14, 2011 under General Practice, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the terms of the quote and of what you authorized him to do. For example, some quotes are firm--that's all that can be charged. Other quotes are not--they provdie a "good faith estimate" of what the charges ought to be, but by their very terms, are not expected to be exact. So long as the final total is close, there is no cause for complaint.

Similarly, you might have told the mechanic to only do the work if it would cost you the quoted amount--in which case, he'd have to receive approval in advance of cost overruns. Or you might have indicated to him that the price looks good, but the important thing is to have the car fixed--which might be taken as authorization to go beyond the original price if need be.

You need to reference your communications with him and the terms of the quote to see what your rights and obligations are.


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