What can I do regarding a situation an auto repair that has been partially paid for but never done?

UPDATED: May 19, 2012

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What can I do regarding a situation an auto repair that has been partially paid for but never done?

I hired a co-worker’s cousin to repair my vehicle 4 months ago. He gave me the initial cost at $900 roughly. He found a few additional things to repair and I gave him half of the repairs and $600 for parts up front. However, as of now, he hasn’t contacted me, responded to my calls, or been at his garage for over a month. What can I do? I don’t have anything written except the receipt saying that I paid half the repairs, plus $600 in parts. He still has my car and his cousin can’t get into contact either. What can I do legally?

Asked on May 19, 2012 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You would sue him. First, if there was an agreement, including an oral agreement, to repair your car for a certain price and he has not honored his obligations, you may sue him to enforce the contract and/or receive compensation. As part of that suit, you could seek an order directing him to return the car to you.

Second, to the extent he is keeping the car without any legal basis (i.e. without your consent or without some basis to hold it recover unpaid fees), he has committed a form of theft, and you may again sue for both the return of the car and for monetary compensation.

Third, if he has done with with criminal intention--i.e. with the knowing intent to keep a car which does not belong to him--then he has potentially committed  crime as well, and you could file a police report and look to press charges.

You have legal rights--no one can simply legally take your car and your money. You should speak witih an attorney about your situation in detail, about your best options and starting the process. Good luck.

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