What to do if a lady’s nephew brought her car in for repairs but now she won’t pay because she said he was not authorized to approve those repairs?

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2014

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What to do if a lady’s nephew brought her car in for repairs but now she won’t pay because she said he was not authorized to approve those repairs?

She said that she had no idea the car was even broken. The nephew has text messages discussing the purchase of the car in payments from the lady. I still have the car. Her attorney is telling me I have 3 days to remove installed parts and return vehicle. Do I have to perform this or do I hold off for payment?

Asked on January 24, 2014 under Business Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If he would reasonably seem to have had authority--that is, a reasonable mechanic or shop owner in your situation would have believed he had authority--then you could try to hold both the car's owner and the nephew (who brought it in) liable for the repairs. However, this may involve substantial litigation on your part, if she refuses to pay and wants the car back. It may be better to do as requested, then sue him (or if he's a minor, his legal guardian) in small claims court for the cost of any labor and any unrecoverable or unreusuable parts expended, since you did so in reliance on his representations that this was an authorized repair. That route will typically result in less recovery for you, but also much less time and money spent on a possible lawsuit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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