How to Handle a Car Garage Overcharge Dispute?

Car Garage Overcharge Dispute

Defective repair and a price higher than that initially announced are two frequent disputes between the motorist and a garage owner. The owner of a car is however protected against the abuses of the professionals of the sector. Many dealers or garage owners may claim they have replaced many Diesel Truck Products in your vehicle, but it may not be the truth. Please read this article to avoid such overprice issues in a service center.

Obligation of result, repair order and estimate

Whether it is a village garage mechanic or a brand dealer, the Consumer Code regulates car repair operations with the same rigor.

The first obligation to which the garage owner is bound is that of advice. As such, he must both explain as clearly as possible what the repair consists of and inform the motorist of any anomalies observed in certain parts, even if they are not directly related to the initial repair.

The profession of garage mechanic is then one of the few to be accompanied by an obligation of result. As a result of this obligation, he may refuse to take charge of the vehicle if he considers that he does not have all the technical or other means to carry out his mission.

Before considering repairs, the customer can ask the mechanic to sign a repair order. Dated and on the garage’s letterhead, this document contains:

  • Client’s name
  • The type of vehicle and its mileage
  • The nature of the repairs
  • The estimated cost
  • The foreseeable downtime

However, a repair order does not constitute a price commitment, the one given being a simple estimate. This document is on the other hand very useful in the event of subsequent litigation.

On the other hand, the repair estimate constitutes a real contract between the mechanic and the customer. In addition to the items on the repair order:

  • The precise description of the work
  • Time and labor cost
  • The list of necessary spare parts
  • Repair times
  • The amount of VAT
  • The validity period of the quote

Once the estimate is signed by both parties, the mechanic is required to respect the price and the customer to pay the specified amount. The garage owner remains however bound by the obligations of information and results.

What are the solutions in the event of a dispute?

If after the repairs are finished you refuse to pay the bill because of the excessive amount, the mechanic may threaten you to detain your vehicle. Contrary to popular belief,  there is nothing illegal about the right of retention of a vehicle  by being provided for in legislation.

The condition is, however, that the claim must be certain, hence the importance of a proper estimate. Without this document, the garage owner is entitled to withhold the vehicle if you refuse to pay the amount claimed. It will then be necessary to settle the invoice and to discuss afterwards!

In the event of a dispute over a repair, the first step is to obtain an explanation from the mechanic. Using the information provided on the quote, then try to find an amicable agreement.

If no common ground can be found and if you have taken out legal protection under your auto insurance , then it is time to request its activation. Call the assistance platform or your insurer directly. If after the intervention of the lawyers of your assistance, the mechanic stands on his position, the costs of a legal action will be covered in whole or in part.

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