Can an auto repair shop charge if they were not able to find what’s wrong with our car?

Our van could not start.we had it towed to a garage to get it diagnosed and fixed. The garage guy said he’d only give us the cost estimate when he looked to see what was broken. Now, he says that after extensive checking, he cannot find the fault so he cannot fix the van, hwoever he is going charge us a lot of money because he “checked”. Can he do that, especilly sine the van is still broken?He did not give us a quote until now.

Asked on July 19, 2012 under General Practice, New Jersey

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, a licensed mechanic is required to give a customer a written estimate for the costs of repair of a given vehicle. If the costs increase, the mechanic is required to get a verbal telephone approval from the customer.

From what you have written, the mechanic that you took the car to did not comply with the law on the required estimate. I suggest that you advise the mechanic of this and refuse to pay any more money above the estimate given. If the mechanic refuses to comply, I suggest that you consult with an attorney experienced in automotive law.


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