If a mechanic did $1800 in unauthorized repairs, do I have to pay?

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If a mechanic did $1800 in unauthorized repairs, do I have to pay?

I authorized $1800 in repairs with the mechanic, in writing. He “lost” the signed authorization (I didn’t get a copy, stupid me) and presented a bill for double the amount and says I verbally authorized it and I have no choice but to pay. The VT AG couldn’t help and I need the money they scammed me out of. He has no signed authorization for any repairs, not even a credit card receipt as he swiped my card before showing me the bill when I went to pick up the car. Could small claims help me or do I just have to let it go?

Asked on September 30, 2010 under General Practice, Vermont

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Listen, it surely does not hurt to try.  What really do you have to lose?  It is your word against theirs and you can be honest about the repairs that you authorized - you can not say "none" as you left it there.  Write down the list of repairs as you remember it to be and get as detailed as you can.  Then I would try and seek out consultation from a different mechanic as to the cost of these repairs as a comparison to the cost of the repairs that were made.  Ask the other mechanic if he would write up an estimate.  It may be a good idea to ask for an estimate as to the repairs that were made that you did not authorize as well to see if the charges were customary for the work that was done.  Ask the new mechanic if the additional work was necessary for completion of the work that was authorized.  Then at least you have ammunition before a judge.  Good luck. 


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