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?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 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.


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