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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 7629
Experience:  Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
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I took my car to the body shop to get a few scratches repainted.

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I took my car to the body shop to get a few scratches repainted. the body shop did not match the paint and did a poor job. I do not feel like I should pay for this job. What are my rights?

LegalGems :

Hi! LegalGems here. My goal: To Do My Best To Assist You. Please remember, I can only provide general information,as this is a public forum.

Customer:

okay, do you have an answer to my question above?

LegalGems :

I am sorry to hear of this, as I assume the purpose of taking this to a professional would be to ensure a professional job, versus using the dealer paint that can be purchased and applied by the consumer. Generally, if a repair shop does a poor job, it can be a cause of action for negligence, or for breach of the contract. The consumer contracted with the repair shop to do a certain job with due diligence, and in a reasonable manner. Failure to do so may constitute a breach. The court will look to see if the breach is material (goes to the heart of the matter) or immaterial. In either case, damages suffered by the plaintiff are generally recoverable. For example, if you obtained an estimate from an independent repair shop to rectify the situation, this would be considered the plaintiff's damages, as this would make the plaintiff "whole" (in the position s/he would have been in but for the breach). Let me look into a couple of things. A few moments please.

LegalGems :

Is this a auto repair shop- can you let me know specifically the exact type of shop?

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX want to know if I have to pay for this 100% to get my car back before I sue or should I leave it their?

Customer:

it is a paint and body shop

LegalGems :

Thanks for that information. Let me verify that. Generally a lien can be assessed for storage charges; but give me a few moments to look into this.

Customer:

still there?

LegalGems :

Yes; I am researching this and came across some licensing regulations I wanted to note for future reference. I am now looking into the auto lien rule. Is the owner willing to give you your car without receiving payment? (I assume not).

LegalGems :

I am including this just so we have it for later reference: this industry is heavily regulated in Texas and here is a checklist of the things they consider: http://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/assistance/sblga/checklists/auto-body.pdf. I am not linking this for at this point I believe it is not important, as you did not mention any environmental concerns.If there are any violations, here is information for this type of license: http://www2.tceq.texas.gov/lic_dpa/index.cfm.

Customer:

No, he wants me to pay full price

LegalGems :

That's what I figured. Here is the relevant statute: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.70.htm. The auto repair shop can put a lien on the car if you fail to pay. However, since the work was substandard, you can contest the lien. But the only way to receive your car, without court intervention, is to pay the money then dispute it after - and this should be noted to the owner of the store when payment is made. One of the things the court will consider is the "reasonableness" standard - so it may be a good idea to take a picture of the car and bring it to a third party repair shop and get an estimate based on this. That way, if the third party repair shop deems the work to be of standard quality based on local conditions, you will be aware of this up front. However, if the repair shop deems it substandard work, this would go to prove your case in small claims. However, to get possession of your car, you will need to pay, unless you bring a court action for specific performance and breach of contract (specific performance to deliver the car to you). As I'm sure you can imagine, this is a more costly, time consuming approach.

LegalGems :

While you review the above, I am going to see if I can find additional information for you.

LegalGems :

Can I ask the approximate value of the repairs?

Customer:

$2000-$2600

LegalGems :

And I assume the car is worth quite a bit more? Do you intend to pay via credit card so it can be disputed later?

Customer:

Its an 03 Corvette, value is prob $20,000. If it is best for me to pay by credit card i will.

LegalGems :

Any amounts under $10K is within their jurisdiction.

LegalGems :

Nice!

LegalGems :

The reason I am asking is that I would hate to see the shop perfect a lien on your car and sell it if the car is worth more than the lien. However, when disputing a charge, the consumer needs to take care to ensure that it is evident from correspondence that the consumer paid the bill in dispute. And of course to have third party documentation that the work was substandard.

Customer:

Is it best for me to go ahead and pay vis credit card and then take him to small claims court then?

LegalGems :

We can't really advise people as to a specific course of action because that would constitute specific legal advice (versus providing legal information for their knowledge when making a decision). However, if one pays by credit card, this provides an alternative method of disputing the charge, rather than just relying on small claims (and, if the credit card dispute is successful, it will save the hassle of filing the action, serving the defendant, and appearing at the hearing).

Customer:

ok great, thank you.

LegalGems :

I'm going to link you to a handy brochure on mechanic's liens (this is the type of lien referenced in the statute cited above): http://www.texasbar.com/Content/NavigationMenu/ForThePublic/FreeLegalInformation/ConsumerTenantRights/MechanicsLeins.pdf

LegalGems :

You are welcome. I hope this resolves quickly for you as I have a feeling you love your car!

Customer:

can i dispute the credit card fees and then go to small calims court if i need to or is it one or the other?

LegalGems :

No; you would be able to do both. The credit card process generally takes 4-6 weeks; just be sure and provide documentation from a third party source that the job was poorly performed - and pictures would not hurt.

Customer:

ok thanks again, that will be all

LegalGems :

Great. You are welcome. Take care.

LegalGems :

You are welcome. Take care.

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