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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 117365
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I have a dispute with an auto repair shop (my question

Customer Question

I have a dispute with an auto repair shop (my question submitted on Aug 16th contains more detailed background information, please let me know if you wish to see it but are not able to). The main points are this: I had a flight to catch later in the afternoon on the day that my car was towed in to their shop (my car was towed there prior to when the shop opened), and the shop 100% understood that I needed to have my car ready by a specific time (12:30 pm), if at all possible, because of my flight. At the time I gave them the go ahead for the repair, I was told that they should still be able to meet that time. The shop had problems getting the correct part, and 90 minutes after 12:30, they hadn't started the repair yet. At that point, I was forced to pay $100 to take an uber directly to the airport. If I had been warned prior to 12:30 that there was a problem and they couldn't meet that time, I would have been able to make other arrangements. I was in meetings all morning and didn't have the flexibility to be watching over them, and given the circumstances, I feel that a reasonable shop advisor should be expected to inform me of the delay when they knew they would no longer be able to meet the 12:30 time.I called and asked (in a courteous manner) that they cover the cost of the uber by subtracting it from the bill, and he got upset that I even asked and demanded that I come pick up my car. At this point, there isn't time to try and reason with them, so I need to pick up my car tomorrow or start owing them a storage charge. Ordinarily, any gain by pushing back on them would be quickly eaten up if it's only over $100, but my experience with them (and their unprofessional behavior) has been so upsetting that I'm not willing to let it go right now mostly just on principle.If I need to pay them the full amount tomorrow, I am wondering what my options are. There was nothing signed and no paperwork or written estimate exchanged of any kind. Everything was done verbally over the phone. If I were to pay the full charge now, would I have a reasonable basis to pursue in small claims court if I went that route? Or can I pay for it with a credit card, dispute the charge with my credit card company and let them work out the issue over the $100? Would the credit card company deny the dispute if I paid the full amount now in order to prevent accruing a storage charge?I don't want to take it to small claims court and would prefer the dispute route with my credit card company, but would at least like to know what kind of a shot I would have if I did take them to small claims court (I realize filing fees in conciliation court would be not much less than the $100 we are disagreeing over).
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, unless they guaranteed in your written contract with you that the car would be ready by 12:30 PM, the shop is not liable to you regarding them not being done on time. If you dispute it with your credit card company, they will not reverse the charge permanently and tell you this is a civil matter. If you go to civil court, small claims, they will require proof in writing that the vehicle was guaranteed to be done by 12:30PM and if it is not in writing the fact they told you they would try to do so is not a binding contract that it would be ready. Also, the fact they failed to call you to let you know is also not going to be sufficient to win the case. Thus, you have a really bad situation that happened, but not one that the repair shop is legally bound to be liable for I am sorry to say.