Educational Consumer Tips

Automobile Repair

Author: Better Business Bureau
Category: Auto

If you are getting repair work done on a motor vehicle in Virginia, you have certain protections concerning the transaction.

You may receive a written estimate for any repair work that will cost over $25 upon request.  You must request the estimate before any work has begun.  The estimate must include the estimated cost of labor to complete the work, the estimated cost of parts to complete the work, a description of the problem or work as described or authorized by the customer and the estimated completion time.  Be aware that the shop is not required to provide such an estimate before 10:00 am or after 4:00 pm.

When an estimate has been requested, no repair work can begin (except diagnostic work) until the estimate has been provided to you and you have authorized the work either in writing or orally. Charges for the completed work may not exceed the estimate by more than 10% (20% for a vehicle which is at least 25 model years old) nor may the time for completion be extended unless you authorize the change in cost or time for completion. The facility is not liable for breach of the estimated completion date if the delay is caused by an Act of God, an unexpected shortage of labor or parts, or other causes beyond the control of the facility.

An automobile repair facility may charge a reasonable fee for preparing an estimate or performing diagnostic tests as long as they inform you at the time of your request by writing or a sign posted at the entrance of the facility.

The facility must offer to return all replaced parts except warranty, core charge or trade-in parts required to be returned to a manufacturer or distributor.

An automobile repair facility is not required to give a written estimate if the facility is unwilling to perform the requested repair work.