Can an auto mechanic charge you more than what he quoted you?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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Can an auto mechanic charge you more than what he quoted you?

We got a quote from a mechanic to rebuild the engine in our car. He has had the car for over 2 months and he told us it would take a couple of weeks. Now he is charging us $600 more than the quote. Can he do that? Do we have any legal recourse?

Asked on December 14, 2011 under General Practice, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the terms of the quote and of what you authorized him to do. For example, some quotes are firm--that's all that can be charged. Other quotes are not--they provdie a "good faith estimate" of what the charges ought to be, but by their very terms, are not expected to be exact. So long as the final total is close, there is no cause for complaint.

Similarly, you might have told the mechanic to only do the work if it would cost you the quoted amount--in which case, he'd have to receive approval in advance of cost overruns. Or you might have indicated to him that the price looks good, but the important thing is to have the car fixed--which might be taken as authorization to go beyond the original price if need be.

You need to reference your communications with him and the terms of the quote to see what your rights and obligations are.

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 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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