What to do about if a customer had a car accident and wants us to reimburse them and not work on their car, months after the fact?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2011

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What to do about if a customer had a car accident and wants us to reimburse them and not work on their car, months after the fact?

We are an auto body shop and did worked on behalf of a customer. We submitting an accident report, spoke with appraisers, and claimed handlers. The customer signed a direction to pay and commence repair agreement. We ordered parts and scheduled work. Customer rescheduled twice and now 5 months later wants 100% of their money returned; they do not want does not want the repairs done. Can we charge handling fee and storage of parts, plus administrative fees for all the time and effort done? We agree reimbursement is due, can we make payments or do we need to reimburse in full?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Accident Law, New Hampshire


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully review your written agreement (assuming you have one) with the customer for the work that was to be done and parts ordered as to what is says about restocking fees and the like. The written agreement would control the obligations owed to the customer by you and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

You should also contact the claims representative about the time and efforts expended by your company concerning the damaged vehicle and payment for what was incurred to date to see what can be done. It seems somewhat unfair to write up a report concerning the accident, order parts and incur other expenses and receive no compensation for your efforts.

Another option is to see what the custom and practice is of other repair shops are when a similar situation happens. Another option is to negotiate with the customer as well. If you reach an agreement in writing for payment, make sure you get a written receipt signed by the customer for what is paid and agreed to.

Good luck.

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