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Car repairs and the legal rights of vehicle owners

On Behalf of | May 10, 2019 | Consumer Protection

Even the most diligent car owner in Pennsylvania is likely to need repair work done at one time or another. It’s not always easy for vehicle owners to know for sure if shortcuts were taken or if there were oversights with the work, at least not until something goes unexpectedly wrong once the vehicle is back in operation. Being more informed can help vehicle owners be aware of potential issues with car repairs.

With car repairs, there are three basic options: the dealership, general repair shops and auto repair chains. Each one has its pros and cons. As far as pricing goes, some statutes prohibit final costs from going over the estimated cost by a certain percentage. Some states go a bit further and provide guidelines for how labor costs need to be calculated by vehicle repair facilities. However, every state has laws against unfair and deceptive acts and practices, or UDAP, specific to vehicle repairs.

Some UDAP laws require prices for common repairs to be clearly listed. For instances when repair work is poorly done, shops may be required to do the repairs correctly at no cost to the vehicle owner. A car owner could also take legal action if a mechanic demands payment for doing unnecessary work not related to the original problem without first seeking permission from the vehicle’s owner. Lemon laws come into play if someone selling a used vehicle fails to disclose what kind of repair work was previously done.

Because there are unique circumstances that can apply to car repair work, a consumer protection lawyer may give the vehicle repair facility an opportunity to explain why they took the steps they did. If there were clear violations of statues or state consumer protection laws, however, an attorney might attempt to reach a fair settlement before pursuing additional legal actions.

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