While it is impossible to avoid all problems associated with repairing a vehicle, there are laws in place to help you avoid a dispute or getting ripped off. If a mechanic is deceptive or misleads you in some way, you may have the right to sue them, and they may be subject to penalties.
Missouri has the following laws in place to protect consumers.
Any violation of these provisions is regarded as unfair settlement practices. In addition, an insurance company cannot require a vehicle owner to travel an unreasonable distance to obtain a repair estimate, have the car repaired at a specific repair shop, or inspect a replacement vehicle. If an insurer does require a particular repair shop, the insurer is responsible for restoring the car to its prior condition at no additional cost to the owner unless otherwise stated in their policy.
Before taking your car to a repair shop, complete some research to make sure you find a reliable mechanic. Ask family or friends for suggestions. When narrowing down your options, search for online reviews and contact your local Better Business Bureau to check a repair shop’s reputation. Additionally, you can see if any complaints have been made about the shop by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline.
Once you decide on a repair shop, list all of the parts and areas of your vehicle that are damaged. Although not all damage is visible, pay particular attention to how it runs and feels when driven. When the mechanic tells you their diagnosis, you may not completely understand the technical terms. Take notes and be sure to get a cost estimate in writing. Instruct the mechanic to call you before any additional repairs are made that are not listed on the original repair order. If you believe unnecessary work is being recommended or you are unhappy with the estimate, it won’t hurt to get a second opinion.