• Consumer Protection Law and Advocacy — Chicago, IL

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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/.