Is It Illegal For Mechanics To Overcharge in Texas?
We all hate those robocalls trying to sell extended auto warranties. The sheer number of these calls can be overwhelming.
The cost of an auto repair can be equally overwhelming.
Believe it or not, Texas has no comprehensive statute specifically governing auto repairs.
There are, however, some remedies in the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices/Consumer Protection Act. This law does include some sections which deal with auto repairs. For example, under this law, it is illegal to:
1) Knowingly make a false or misleading statement about the need for parts or repair service.
2) State that work has been done, or parts were replaced when untrue.
3) Represent that parts used to fabricate a repair were original or new when they were not.
As a consumer, you have the right to know what a repair will cost before you authorize the repair. It is always a good idea to get several estimates. Compare prices before making a decision. It is also good to check consumer reviews or friends for ideas on who is reputable.
GET IT IN WRITING
According to the Lawyer's Blog, you have to get it in writing as a consumer. Written authorization should proceed towing, inspection, test drive, diagnosis, or disassembly.
You should make sure written and signed agreements are in place before any work is done, what the fee will be, whether the replacement parts are new or rebuilt, the date repairs will be completed, the warranty, if any, on labor
If you are financing the repair, the payment terms, including the loan terms, need to be in writing.
A common scam is waiting until your vehicle is up on the lift and partially disassembled before getting your authorization to proceed with repairs. Then you either have to agree to over-priced repairs or risk getting your car back partially disassembled. Then you are stuck.
Whatever you do, even if you disagree with the repair bill, you should pay it. You can dispute it with the Texas Attorney General's Office afterward. If you refuse to pay, the mechanic has a legal right to keep your vehicle until you pay.
If you're anything like me, you are not an expert on auto repairs, and it would be easy to fall for a mechanic's deceptions. Getting as much detail as possible about all repairs, estimates, and, if the repair costs substantially more, the justification for the overages is always a good idea.
That way, you have more knowledge to fight the unwarranted charges in court should it come down to that.