Does a car dealership have to give me a written estimate before they start repairs if they are the ones that wrecked it and are paying for it?

I took my brand new car (I got it a weak earlier) to a dealership near my house to have a couple of things looked at and their employees got into a wreak with it. They offered to pay for the damages but they didn’t show me the damages before hand or give me written notice of the repairs. They also told me that since the accident occurred on private property, I don’t need to (and shouldn’t) contact my car insurance or the police, and that the damage would not devalue my car. Did I mention that they didn’t fix the things I brought it in for either?

Asked on July 9, 2012 under Accident Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) You don't have to allow them to repair it at all--or  if you do, you can insist on an estimate and even contract before doing so. However, if you allowed them to begin working on it without an estimate or anything in writing, it may be too late to object.

2) All damage devalues a car--they are either ignorant (unlikely, since they are a dealership) or lying (much more likely). If lying, they may be committing fraud against you.

3) The location of an accident on private property or not has no bearing on your right to, or the need  to, contact the police and your insurer. Note that under many policies, if you do not provide notification to your insurer in a timely manner, you breach your policy obligations and lose the right to seek compensation from your insurer.

You are in a precarious position, trusting or about to trust someone who won't document costs, who lied to you, and who did a poor job previously. You should consult with an attorney about this matter and your options.

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