Do I have to pay the remaining balance to a car machanic it I had to take my car to another shop to repair the repairs?

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Do I have to pay the remaining balance to a car machanic it I had to take my car to another shop to repair the repairs?

I took my vehicle to the mechanic for repairs then took it back 6 different times in 1.5 weeks to repair the repairs, i.e. something fell on my foot as I was driving, gauges not working after it was returned, over-heating when returned, oil leaking, running rough, etc. I paid $800 of a quoted 1399.08 estimate for repairs. I called to take it back one more and was verbally abused and hung up on. I called back and left a message for a return call, no call. I had to take my car into a different shop, paid $694 for same work. Cracked valve cover found with an attempted silicon patch job, etc.

Asked on July 27, 2012 under Business Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the mechanic did not perform the repairs he said he would, or performed them negligently (unreasonably carelessly), you should not have to pay for them. You have two ways to proceed:

1) Wait to see if the mechanic takes legal action against you, then defend against his claim or suit; to win, you'd have to show that he did not do the work or was negligent, which may require bringing in a mechanic of your own to testify.

2) Affirmatively bring a suit of your own seeking a "declaratory judgment," or court determination as to how much you owe. Again, you'd need evidence. This option puts the burden on you, but lets you get certainty.

Given the cost and time of litigation, and that the outcome is never certain, your best bet may be to settle (if you can) for some mutually agreeable amount.


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