Can an auto repair shop perform repairs on a car without the oral or written consent of the vehicle’s owner?

I let a friend borrow my car while I was away on vacation. He took it upon himself to authorize repairs on my car without my consent and didn’t pay. Now the repair shop claims I am responsible for paying the $350 worth of repairs done on my car.

Asked on March 25, 2012 under General Practice, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your friend has  no right to bind you to pay for repairs--not unless you had given him that authority (e.g. appointed him your attorney in fact), which it appears you did not. Legally, therefore, the repair shop should not be able to seek payment from you, but rather should proceed against your friend. Practically, however, if the repair shop tries to take action against you--hires a collection agency; reports a default to the credit rating bureaus; sues you; etc.--you could spend more, directly or indirectly, on defending yourself than it would cost to pay the bill. Assuming you have in fact gotten some value from the repairs (i.e. they were useful or necessary), it may be best to pay then bill, then see if you can't get some reimbursement from your friend.


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