Do you have to give written consent to an auto repair shop before they can do the repairs on your car?

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Do you have to give written consent to an auto repair shop before they can do the repairs on your car?

I took my car to a body shop for an estimate. They have already started working on it and I never gave them the OK. I haven’t even gotten the check from the Insurance company to pay for it yet.

Asked on January 24, 2012 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding your current issues with a body repair shop for repairs to your vehicle that you did not authorize.  While your situation is likely causing you frustration, it is actually unfortunately quite common.  It often occurs due to miscommunication at the body shop, which leads to repairs being completed on vehicles that were never authorized. 

Generally, before a body shop begins repairs on a vehicle, the body shop will present the estimate to the vehicle’s owner to show the estimated cost of repairs.  The body shop will have the owner sign the written estimate for repairs, and usually within the estimate there will be some type of language that the body shop will contact the vehicle’s owner if the repairs exceed a particular amount.  The body shop goes through all of these steps, because the body shop wants to ensure that it will be compensated for all of its labor and costs for parts. 

You may want to contact the body shop and let them know that you never authorized the repairs and that you never signed an authorization for the repairs.  Additionally, you may want to contact your insurance company and notify them of the situation, because they may be able to release a check sooner in order to assist you.  The body shop can also try to work directly with your insurance company.  If they cannot resolve this matter with you, you may wish to contact the consumer protection division of your state’s attorney general’s office. 

 


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