• Consumer Protection Law and Advocacy — Chicago, IL

Avoiding Automotive Repair Shop Fraud and Excessive Charges

750 500 StacyBardo

Automotive repair shop fraud is a consistent consumer protection concern. Many repair shops continue to ignore key protections here in Illinois. The Automotive Repair Act requires repair facilities to make specific disclosures to consumers before repair work begins.  When you bring your car in, you must be given a written estimate that explains:

  • the amount to be charged for parts, labor, and diagnostic tests
  • a parts description and disclosure of whether the parts will be new or used
  • a disclosure as to whether repairs are required or suggested
  • the date, odometer reading, and length of time needed to repair the vehicle (if it will take more than one day)
  • an explanation of how labor costs will be calculated

The written repair estimate may be provided in 1 of 2 forms:

  • An itemized estimate for parts and labor, which cannot be exceeded by more than 10%; or
  • A non-itemized estimate of total price, which cannot be exceeded at all.

If you don’t authorize the repair, the shop can’t charge you for it.  If a repair is taking too long, you can take your vehicle back so long as:

  • You pay for labor that was actually performed
  • You pay for parts that were actually installed
  • You pay for parts that were ordered specifically for you if they can’t be returned
  • You pay for any storage charges disclosed to you before repairs commenced

All these consumer rights must be posted in a visible location.

Use your best judgment in selecting a repair facility. Check online reviews prior to leaving your vehicle anywhere and verify the type and number of complaints against the facility with your local Better Business Bureau at https://www.bbb.org/.



Stacy M. Bardo is a seasoned litigator, with 20+ years of experience prosecuting consumer cases in state and federal court. Stacy founded Bardo Law, P.C. to provide effective, zealous legal representation to consumers, while maintaining empathy and compassion for her clients.

All stories by: StacyBardo

    Hello. I have a shop I took my vehicle to they told me they put an AC Delco now I have a problem with noise with Same noise I had when I came in they said I needed a timing belt kit and water pump. I go back now they don’t wanna warrantee anything they say they don’t hear anything. They lied about AC Delco water pump. The service advisor said he put AC Delco on the Honda engine. Saturn Vue 2005

  • Christy Boswell

    Hi I’ve had some work done by holzaures dealership in Nashville Illinois I’ve got a written quote what they charged the dealership an I’ve got a Ridiculous repair bill that they’re trying to charge me even more money so if you could please let me know if this will be something that you handle thank you so much for your time Christy Boswell

    • StacyBardo

      Hi Christy:
      Thanks for your inquiry. The Illinois Automotive Repair Act may apply to your situation but I’d need to know more. I will send you an e-mail and we can connect to exchange more information.
      -Stacy Bardo

  • me

    my daughter took her vehicle to emporium mufflers and brakes to have her check engine light fixed on feb 2,2022. they replaced the catalytic converter and a fuel pump. that seemed to fix problem, for a while. she took it back a few weeks later because the light came back on. fixed that. on march 31st light on again and she was losing power. we took it back again. they have had the vehicle for 2 1/2 days and cannot diagnose the problem. plus they nevr once called my daughter to let her know what was or wasnt going on. we did all the calling. they gave a vague answer and told me one thing and my mother another. i decided to give them until april 4th to figure it out. but in the meantime we wrote a bad review on them. they called before closing time and said come pick up your vehicle in april 4th we are not doing anything with it because of the bad review. all these parts are still under warranty. what can we do?

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