Car Repair FAQ: Can a Mechanic Keep Your Car?

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Can a mechanic keep your car? One thing that may come as a surprise, is that you, as a consumer, have rights when it comes to having your automobile repaired by a mechanic. Most people aren’t aware of their rights or what the law actually says. According to the Consumer Protection Act, when you take your vehicle in for a repair, you are covered under the Act and have certain rights. This article will review those rights. If you are in need of a mechanic, contact Hansma Automotive today

Can A Mechanic Keep Your Car? 

Yes, a repairer can keep your vehicle if you don’t pay the repair bill. This is the one situation, in Canada, in which a mechanic can keep your car. If they give you your vehicle back and you then refuse to pay, they can register a lien against your vehicle, which could result in you having your vehicle seized and possibly sold or donated. To avoid this, it is very helpful to know your rights

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Your Rights 

Repair costs

Before a mechanic does any work, they must give you a written estimate of the costs or you must agree on a maximum amount you will pay for the repair.

If you set a maximum price you are willing to pay for the repair, the final cost charged cannot legally be higher than that amount, unless previously agreed upon.

If you get a written estimate from your mechanic, the final cost charged can’t be higher than the estimate by more than 10% of the quoted price unless you previously agreed to it and signed a revised estimate. If you are getting a written estimate, it must include:

• Your name

• The name, address and contact details of the repair shop

• The make, model, vehicle identification number (VIN) and licence number of the vehicle

• An exact description of the repairs to be made

• Whether they will be installing any parts and if those parts will be new, used, or reconditioned

• Whether they will be using parts provided by the original equipment manufacturer

• The price of the parts

• The total cost for the labour and how it will be calculated (e.g., an hourly rate or a flat rate, or some combination)

• The total amount to be billed (the final cost can’t exceed this amount by more than 10%)

• The date the estimate is given and the date after which it no longer applies

• The date when the work and repairs will be completed

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Estimates

It is legal for a repair shop to charge for an estimate, however, they must tell you how much they will charge before providing you one. A fee for an estimate can include the cost of:

• The time to examine the vehicle

• Reassembling the vehicle after examining it

• Any parts that will be damaged during examination or reassembly that will need to be replaced

You can’t be charged the fee if you give them permission to repair the vehicle before it is reassembled. If you don’t give them permission to begin the repair, they may reassemble the vehicle and charge you for the estimate. If you make agreements on the phone, like many automotive shops do, and give them permission to begin repair, they must record it in writing.

A rule of thumb, never sign a blank work order. This allows the shop to make any repairs they think necessary for your vehicle and legally charge you for the work, even if you disagree.

Invoices

Much like the estimate, the final invoice for the repair must include:

• Your name

• The name, address and contact information of the repair shop

• The make, model, vehicle identification number (VIN) and licence number of the vehicle

• The odometer reading when the vehicle was dropped off and when the vehicle is returned

• A list of the parts they installed and if the parts are new, used, or reconditioned

• Whether they used parts provided by the original equipment manufacturer

• The price of the parts

• The total cost for the labour and how it was calculated (e.g., an hourly rate or a flat rate, or some combination)

• Any shop supplies charged to a customer (and not included in normal operating costs)

• The terms of the warranty provided by the repair shop for each part installed and the labour to install it

• The total amount billed (can’t exceed the estimate by more than 10%)

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Disagreements With The Repair Shop

If you feel the repair shop has not taken these rights into consideration, write a complaint letter to the business.  If they don’t respond, you can take your vehicle to another shop and ask for a written assessment that shows the original repairs were not carried out as intended or that parts were faulty or damaged. If you send this assessment to your original auto shop you can ask for an adjustment on your bill. If they still do not respond you can file a complaint with the Government of Ontario. By law, you have rights under the Consumer Protection Act

Trust The Professionals At Hansma 

At Hansma we offer service with a difference. We have worked hard to gain a reputation for honesty and quality work.  You can trust us to only recommend and carry out the repairs that you actually need. Whether you've been in an accident and are needing a place to send your car or you are just looking for standard maintenance, we will let you know what you need done and when it should be done. Our customers have come to consider us as their mechanic friend. As your mechanic friend, we promise to give you top-notch service at reasonable and competitive rates. Click here to meet our friendly team, read our testimonials, and contact us today to find out about the Hansma service difference for yourself.  We are open every weekday from 8 AM to 6 PM. Come see us at 88 Shoemaker St. in Kitchener, Ontario.

"I have been using Hansma Automotive Service Inc. for over 5 years now and I find them to be professional in every respect. Their technicians quickly identify the issues and formulate a prioritized repair schedule. You can see that Peter has instilled his core values of honesty, Integrity and thoroughness in his team while also staying competitive. Keep up the good work" - Garry

Read More Customer Testimonials Here

Posted on May 14, 2018 .