Ohio Consumer Law Blog

Information on Ohio's Consumer Laws from Attorney Daniel Myers, Myers Law, LLC, not legal advice

Auto Mechanic Issues? Know Your Rights!

Next to lawyers and used car salesmen, auto mechanics are the subjects of much criticism.  There are good and bad people you deal with.  Many of us are vulnerable when our cars need repairs–the mechanic has all of the information and we just have to nod along.  Luckily, Ohio law gives you certain rights to protect yourself from many deceptive and unfair business practices.

First, Ohio law requires a repair shop to provide you with a “Notice of Right to an Estimate” form at your first face to face meeting before repairs begin.  This form requires that you initial your choice of type of estimate (written, oral, or no estimate).  Your mechanic is then obligated to give you the type of estimate that you requested.  If there are any changes in the work that will result in a significant price difference, your mechanic may have to provide you with another estimate for the change, and get your approval either over the phone or in writing.

Second, Ohio law requires a repair shop to provide you with a detailed invoice when work is complete.  This invoice must contain the cost-break down for all materials separate from all labor performed.  This form helps to protect you from a mechanic marking up prices unreasonably, or overcharging you for labor performed.  If you are charged $450 for four new tires, that may sound fine.  But what if the mechanic gave you $50 tires and only spent an hour doing the work at $50 per hour.  There is a big difference between $450 and $250, and you have the right to know the reason you are paying so much.

Third, Ohio law requires that a repair shop live up to any warranties it makes to you.  If a mechanic tells you “this will fix that noise,” or “this part will last for 3 years,” or “this labor is so good it will last you another 5,000 miles” those are warranties, promises that they have to live up to.  It would be a good idea to get them written down or recorded, but if they orally promise you one thing and deliver you another–that’s a breach of their promise and representation, and that’s something you can contact a lawyer about.

Fourth, if the mechanic is going to charge you garage fees, storage fees, late fees, cancellation fees, interest, or other costs or expenses above and beyond what was in the estimate, they have to tell you before you agree to the work.  A refund policy must be posted near the place where you conducted business with the mechanic, like near a register.  Your agreement that you sign should state what late fees or cancellation fees you could incur by cancelling the work or not paying on time.  Garage fees and storage fees should be posted in the area where you are doing business with the mechanic and/or written in your agreement.  You have a right to know these things and not be surprised by them later.

Fifth, the mechanic must start the work within 8-weeks after you pay your deposit.  I have heard stories of longer waits than this–if your mechanic does not start work within 8 weeks, you are entitled to a refund of the deposit that you paid, at a minimum.

Finally, you have the right to receive your old parts back from the mechanic once the work is done, but you should make this request before the work starts.  Write it on the estimate so it shows up on the mechanic’s copy.  You may wish to do this if you want to truly know whether that belt was damaged, whether your break pads were as worn as they said, or whether your other parts actually needed the work the mechanic told you were necessary.  It’s your property and your money, after all.

Ohio law provides you with a lot of rights that you probably did not know about.  If you are going to a mechanic that doesn’t respect your rights or has taken advantage of you in the past–you should contact a lawyer immediately to see what options are available to you–and find a new mechanic.

13 comments on “Auto Mechanic Issues? Know Your Rights!

  1. Ryan Jordan
    August 3, 2017

    I had my bike picked up on May 8th and taken to Queen City Harley to have it looked at for a pinging noise in the engine. They didn’t contact me or speak to me I had to call them every single time on the 16th I get a call saying that they need authorization from my extended warranty for me to authorize teardown of the engine which was going to cost me 4 – 10 hours of Labor which I agreed I’m a service manager of an automotive shop so I agree to that I heard no word from them until I called them on the 25th of May they told me that my bike warranty was Nolan void because I had a tuner on my bike I own a 2009 Road Glide CVO Screamin Eagle they told me to cancel my extended warranty and said that I needed $5,100 in repairs I called my extended warranty and spoke to a claims representative they told me that they never even contacted them and haven’t heard from them since the 16th of May to get tear down from the customer I called them back and ask them why they have never called the extended warranty and tried to tell me I would have to pay $5,100 and repairs I finally got them to call the extended warranty company and they extended warranty company sent of out within 24 to 48 hours the next day they told me that everything would be covered besides My exhaust manifold they said my bill was going to be around $800 I went head and authorized it because I wanted my bike fixed it is now August 3rd they finished my bike up on August 1st they delivered it back to my house on the 3rd when I got home from work I took it for a 15-mile ride and when I got back it was worse it was still it was knocking so they sent somebody out to pick it up again this place is horrible the owner had nothing but disrespected me on the phone and told me he has 20 years experience in business management and he has an MBA I told him that he needs to work on his customer service skills my bike is now almost been there 3 months I’ve been paying on my bike for the past 3 months it’s still have no bike fixed what do I do

  2. Daniel Myers
    August 3, 2017

    Ryan, feel free to call us and talk to Alise (Alice) tomorrow at 216-236-8202. Once we get some more information (privately, not publicly) we might be able to give you some guidance or determine if it’s something we could not assist with.

  3. Laurie Kuchler
    August 9, 2017

    How about as the owner of an auto repair facility if the “customer” signs all forms (which comply with your blog post) and refuses to pay his bill and drives away. I believe that is Theft of Services under the Ohio Revised Code but would love your input. The local city Police Department will not act.

  4. Mary Deemer
    March 1, 2018

    Hi there
    Hoping you can help me. I purchased a vehicle 5 months ago with the understanding that although it had all new parts on it it would need a new motor. The car and the motor was at this mechanic’s shop. I contacted the mechanic and arrangements were made for me to give him the money for the motor. After that he kept promising me week after week that my car would be completed. He always came up with excuses for it not being done. Either a family member or friend had passed away. I think there were a total of 9 people that have died since he has had my car. Then his wife was in the hospital. It has been one thing after the other. I even went so far as to contact the sheriff who told me there was nothing they could do. He finally got the motor installed and the car running a month ago and was getting ready to bring it to me when he discovered the transmission was now bad. I paid him for half the cost of the transmission and half the cost of labor for the engine. Again, he keeps telling me it will be done in a week. Now he is avoiding me. He won’t answer any of my calls. I have sent him numerous text messages and messages through Facebook messenger. He has ignored all of them. I desperately need my car to get back and forth to work. A friend has been letting me borrow his truck but needs it back now. I have, in the past, had to take taxis to work, rent cars and pay friends and neighbor’s for gas money to take me to work because this guy just won’t finish my car or even contact me about what is going on with it. What recourse, if any, do I have?

  5. totallysirius
    May 2, 2018

    What about when you pay for repairs to your oil system and the engine blows up 5 days later?

  6. universalmotorcas
    December 7, 2020

    I need more information.

  7. Ginger Walls
    March 29, 2021

    hi I had my 2002 chevy trail blazer towed to a mechanic shop. It had a tick noise in engine so I didn’t want to drive it. Tow driver and myself even talked about it. They have had my blazer 2 1/2 weeks have fixed rack and pinions on it ball joints and a few other little thing but not what I sent it for. Now last wed they told me it was going to be right around $2,500 with everything fixed including engine. Now as of Monday morning they are telling me $2,700 without engine fixed. No papers have been signed. I am a female and I live in Ohio. what should I do and can I go take my blazer from them and only pay the parts and what it says on line for how many hours for labor?

  8. Elmer Conner
    May 27, 2021

    Always provide time for the customer especially auto repair that provides proper work. I went to this blog to come up with ideas about providing information to my readers for many years.

  9. John Evener
    August 19, 2022

    My Mechanic who worked out of his home garage did some work on my 1969 show truck and I was pleased with the work. We discussed doing some more work later to the truck like installing rack and pinion steering, a rearend from a 93-ford explorer, 4 link suspension, coil overs, and bigger tires. He had all of the parts except the rearend which I bought separate and delivered it to him all the other parts I bought from him because he could not use them. After 6 or 7 months of putting me off on finishing the truck he said by last Ja. it would be done for sure. He later opened a big garage downtown with his brother and begun full time in the mechanic business and assured me my truck would be taken to the new garage and given top priority. (By the way I paid him in full for the work he was supposed to do in advance). I was invited to his Grand opening and was surprised to see another “Hot rod” setting in the shop for an engine change. He now tells me after almost two years that he is trying to schedule time to work on my truck, but he is just real busy with the customers. I have been very patient with this guy, and when I ask how the progress is going, he says I’ll be the first to know when it’s done. I have missed car shows and have had to postpone custom painting and driving my truck as a result of his feet dragging. I’m 73 years old and a disabled Vietnam vet, and this truck meant a lot to me. Do I have any recourse? enough is enough.

  10. Andrew V Ryan
    November 10, 2022

    I am getting ripped off by Sampson Performance and car center out of boardman oh… Long story short my warranty company towed my vehicle to Sampson Performance and car center for work to be done by them.. after the warranty company backed out of the warranty I was responsible for the initial work at no time was I told or signed anything about to lot fee . Now I am trying to get my vehicle and they will not release it to me

  11. Jeffery Johnson
    March 15, 2023

    I had a repair shop do a warranty job And they said it will be 5 business days and it took 2 and half weeks. Then we paid for a rental $1000 and he said I broke another part and can’t get it off and now trying to make us pay for it. I lost my job and out almost 2000 and have to pay almost 300 or he going to put a lien on it. Idk what to do

  12. DW
    March 30, 2023

    Our son caused very minor damage to the rear bumper of the car in front of him. The shop emailed an outrageous estimate to us, but we agreed to pay but stated we wanted the old parts that were to be replaced. We received no communications or invoices until almost a year later when the shop contacts us demanding payment. We asked about the parts, and they state they no longer have them. We do not believe any parts had to be replaced. Do I have any recourse?

  13. Judy
    May 22, 2023

    I’m looking to see about getting justice for my vehicle what can I do I just want my truck fix

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This entry was posted on October 11, 2012 by in By Daniel Myers, Uncategorized.


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