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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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