If a repair shop breaks a part while doing a repair on anotherpart, am I liable?

UPDATED: Jun 14, 2011

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If a repair shop breaks a part while doing a repair on anotherpart, am I liable?

I was having a water pump replaced and while replacing the pump, the shop broke the fan. I was charged $200 for replacement of the fan. They said that’s their policy. I was not made aware of said policy before hand. What can I do?

Asked on June 14, 2011 under General Practice, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

IF you were made aware in advance--and agreed to, either explicitly or implicitly (i.e. by going ahead with the repair after being made aware of the policy) to the policy, which shifts the risk to you, then the shop would have a good argument that you have to pay. Agreements to shift risk are enforceable.

However, without your being aware of the policy and signally agreement therewith, the shop would seem to be liable; as a general rule, in the absence of some agreement shifting risk, a repair shop has a duty to use reasonable care in its repairs and in handling a customer's property, and would be liable or fiscally responsible for any damage it does.

As a practical matter, even if the case above applies and the shop should be liable, the only way to make them pay would be to sue them (if they don't pay voluntarily). You could sue in small claims court, to reduce costs. You'd sue for the cost of the repair.

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