Car Repair Laws… says Carol

Woman Looking Under Hood Car Repair Laws… says CarolThe average car on the road is 11.1 years old. Even though cars are better quality these days, car repair costs better be in your budget. Also, know your rights.

Years ago we had a car that needed a hose replaced. That was okay until other hoses kept breaking right after I would get one fixed. One thousand dollars later, the repairs stopped. If my mechanic had not been a friend and neighbor who I trusted completely, I would have thought I was being ripped off.

I know my situation was not unique. Many of you have taken a car in for repair only to take it back for repair on something else a few days later. Before you think bad thoughts about your mechanic, remember auto repair is not a science.

However, do your homework before you have your car repaired. Check with the BBB on the companies you are considering using. Get estimates, if the situation allows it. Know your rights protected by the Colorado Motor Vehicle Repair Act. This Repair Act does not apply to trucks weighing more than 8,500 lbs., farm vehicles, motorcycles, cars older than 25 years and collector’s items.

The law does state that no repairs can be made to a vehicle without the written consent of the owner which includes an estimate of repairs.

The estimate must include:

  • Total costs of repairs (excluding sales tax and towing charges)
  • Completion date
  • Whether customer wants replaced parts returned
  • Cost of reassembly (if the customer chooses not to have the work done) and replacement of parts destroyed in disassembly

Exceptions: Consent for repair must be written unless:

  • Customer signs a waiver of right to an estimate
  • Estimate is after disassembly necessary to determine problem
  • Estimate is for additional charges
  • Vehicle is towed in or left before or after business hours, in which case no more than $100 worth of parts and labor combined is allowed without owner consent

You can give up your right to an estimate by signing a statement printed in bold type: “I DO NOT WISH TO RECEIVE ANY ESTIMATE, EITHER WRITTEN OR ORAL, TO WHICH I AM ENTITLED BY LAW. BEFORE REPAIRS ARE AUTHORIZED.” Authorization for repairs must be gotten, nonetheless.

Consumers may have private remedies under the Act, including treble damages and costs and attorney fees. To file a consumer complaint either call (800) 222-4444 or use the Office of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section’s online consumer complaint form.

What repair stories do you have?

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About Carol Odell

Carol J. Odell, is the CEO of the Better Business of Southern Colorado and has been with the BBB for twenty years. Even before her BBB life she was involved in the community as a volunteer and co-owner of a manufacturing business. She is a published author, speaker, wife, mother, and grandmother --- and enjoys all of these roles.