Whether to Sue or Not
UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022
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Whether to Sue or Not
I was in a auto accident which was the fault of the other driver. I was contacted by an auto shop who promised to fix the vehicle and guarantee the work. The auto shop was paid $5600 for their work prior to returning my vehicle and upon return, certain things that were verbally promised to be fixed were not. They were even paid additional funds to fix items they did not fix the first time and still did not fix it but kept the funds and refuses to either fix or return the funds. They also caused me to have to pay for a rental car because of a missed agreement date and returned my vehicle with additional damages. The amount is less than $1000. I have contacted the BBB and the state Dept. of Consumer Affairs but the business refuses to return the money. What do you recommend?
Asked on October 14, 2016 under Accident Law, South Carolina
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 6 years ago | Contributor
Sue them: if the amount is less than limit for small claims court, sue in small claims on a "pro se" (as your own attorney) basis, to minimize legal costs. You would sue based on:
1) Breach of contract: not doing what they agreed to do and what you paid for.
2) Fraud: lying about what they could or would do, to get you to give them the business.
3) Negligence: unreasonable carelessness in doing the repairs and/or for causing additional damage.
You could sue for the cost to finally fix the car; and/or for a return of some of the money, for any repairs they did not even attempt; for additional damage they did; and possibly for the rental costs.
Even if the total is a little more than the small claims limit, you want to voluntarily "waive" (or give up) the amount over the limit, to keep the matter in small claims court, whch is not just cheaper than "regular" court but is also much faster and simpler.
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