Can an auto repair shop perform repairs on a car without the oral or written consent of the vehicle’s owner?

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2012

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Can an auto repair shop perform repairs on a car without the oral or written consent of the vehicle’s owner?

I let a friend borrow my car while I was away on vacation. He took it upon himself to authorize repairs on my car without my consent and didn’t pay. Now the repair shop claims I am responsible for paying the $350 worth of repairs done on my car.

Asked on March 25, 2012 under General Practice, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your friend has  no right to bind you to pay for repairs--not unless you had given him that authority (e.g. appointed him your attorney in fact), which it appears you did not. Legally, therefore, the repair shop should not be able to seek payment from you, but rather should proceed against your friend. Practically, however, if the repair shop tries to take action against you--hires a collection agency; reports a default to the credit rating bureaus; sues you; etc.--you could spend more, directly or indirectly, on defending yourself than it would cost to pay the bill. Assuming you have in fact gotten some value from the repairs (i.e. they were useful or necessary), it may be best to pay then bill, then see if you can't get some reimbursement from your friend.

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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