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INFOLAWYER
INFOLAWYER, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses
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Can I sue my mechanic for overcharging # XXXXX hours performed

Customer Question

Can I sue my mechanic for overcharging # XXXXX hours performed? The mechanic replaced 2 sensors in my car and charged me 3.8 hours ($120/hr). When I checked in a standard labor guide, it reports that it takes only 1.1 hours to complete. There is a discrepancy of 2.7 hours. Can I sue in small claims court (NY) for that? Do I have a case? Is there any legal basis? If so, what is it called? What kind of strategy should I pursue? I have the receipt detailing the # XXXXX hours and what repairs were done.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

I am a legal expert at Justanswer. I have reviewed your question and will be helping you today.

You can pursue this in a few ways. I would get an estimate from another mechanic as your case and then pursue a complaint in small claims court, the BBB and dept of consumer affairs.

Having a consumer protection lawyer call is a second option which can expedite the process for you but not necessary. I am a NY lawyer. martindale.com is a useful directory
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have a few clarification questions:

1) Would I need a written estimate from another mechanic (to provide in small claims court)? Do they usually provide written estimates?

2) Is this case worth pursuing? Do I have a chance?

I know for a fact that the repairs took only about 50 minutes (after researching how to do the repairs myself). And I understand that they (Mercedes) has its labor guide that it goes by. But 3.8 hours is excessive.
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 3 years ago.
1,. Yes. that would make your case much stronger.

2. with the above estimate it worth pursuing as mentioned in initial response with several different options

Good luck!!!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
1. Would a consumer protection lawyer be financially feasible? I would probably be pursuing about $260 ($240, 2 hrs of labor and $20 sales tax).

2. Can I use a video recording of myself demonstating the repairs in 30 minutes proving that 3.8 hours is ridiculous? Is this admissible in small claims court? I was thinking of using my Ipad to project the video if there isn't a computer in the courtroom to play the video.
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 3 years ago.
1. only if they charge contingency or commission based on recovery

2. it is best letting another mechanic provide an estimate who is to a court or agency not biased and more credible.

I hope you found the answer fast and straightforward. Please remember to click ACCEPT - as it is the only way I get credit and paid for your answer - even if you have a deposit or membership with justanswer.

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Leaving a BONUS is always appreciated! Positive Feedback is also very much appreciated.

I wish I could always provide good news to customers but sometimes that is not the case. I prefer and you deserve no less than the truth. Telling you what you want to hear is irresponsible of me and unfair to you so please keep that in mind. That said, even in a bad news situation, I try to give options if they exist.

You can always request me in the future - just begin the question with “This Question is for INFOLAWYER…”
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If I choose to pursue the small courts claim route, can the dealer/mechanic counterclaim me in small claims court? If so, for what? I'm concerned that this may not be worth it.
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 3 years ago.
I do not see basis for a counterclaim from what you mentioned. If you are concerned, consider instead pursuing it through the BBB and dept of consumer affairs, or simply letting a lawyer try to negotiate a settlement quickly out of court on contingency fee basis

I hope you found the answer fast and straightforward. Please remember to click ACCEPT - as it is the only way I get credit and paid for your answer - even if you have a deposit or membership with justanswer.

If you need any clarification or other information, just click REPLY before or after you click accept. I am happy to follow up to your satisfaction! On very rare occasion, there may be a delay between responses if I am taking a break or helping other customers.

Leaving a BONUS is always appreciated! Positive Feedback is also very much appreciated.

I wish I could always provide good news to customers but sometimes that is not the case. I prefer and you deserve no less than the truth. Telling you what you want to hear is irresponsible of me and unfair to you so please keep that in mind. That said, even in a bad news situation, I try to give options if they exist.

You can always request me in the future - just begin the question with “This Question is for INFOLAWYER…”
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My main concern is whether or not I have any legal basis in recovering those excessive labor charges. I signed the work order/receipt thinking that 3.8 hours was the typical # XXXXX hours of labor required to perform the repairs.   However, after talking to coworkers and checking an official labor guide book (which tells you how much time it takes to perform certain repairs), I realized 3.8 hours was much more than necessary.   According to a reputable labor guide (Chilton Labor Guide), I should have been charged for 1.1 hours.   Because I signed the work order/receipt, does that mean I lost my case because I agreed to the work? Is there any basis in saying that fraud was committed? I only later realized in the evening that I was swindled.
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 3 years ago.
You may still recover if you were defrauded and overcharged given time and money billed relative to standard business practice.

Please remember to click ACCEPT - as it is the only way I get credit and paid for your answer - even if you have a deposit or membership with justanswer.

If you need any clarification or other information, just click REPLY before or after you click accept. I am happy to follow up to your satisfaction! On very rare occasion, there may be a delay between responses if I am taking a break or helping other customers.

Leaving a BONUS is always appreciated! Positive Feedback is also very much appreciated.

I wish I could always provide good news to customers but sometimes that is not the case. I prefer and you deserve no less than the truth. Telling you what you want to hear is irresponsible of me and unfair to you so please keep that in mind. That said, even in a bad news situation, I try to give options if they exist.

You can always request me in the future - just begin the question with “This Question is for INFOLAWYER…”

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