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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 29986
Experience:  Lawyer
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Before purchasing my car, I had Midas inspect my van before

Customer Question

Before purchasing my car, I had Midas inspect my van before buying. They said that only 1k would fix the damage. Now I brought it in and they said 2.5k. I also just had work done because I told them to fix only what was necessary. Now the engine is having trouble. I want the work that they missed during the inspection fixed for free because I would not have purchased the car knowing that it needed this much work. Do I have proctection under the law to go after them to make the repairs they missed to have them do it for free?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened. If you told them that you were having the car inspected to decide whether to buy it, and they told you that it would only cost $1,000 to fix, then you're allowed to reasonably rely upon that promise - after all, they're the experts. Washington law requires that a mechanic give prospective customers a WRITTEN estimate, and only allows them to charge at most 10% above that estimate. That means that they can't charge you more than $1,100 to fix problems that existed at the time of the inspection and that they either found or should've found using reasonable diligence. To recover damages for the problems with the engine, you have to be able to establish that the problem existed at the time of the inspection and isn't something that happened later. That would probably require a statement from another mechanic who can point out what they should've seen and told you about. A judge actually wouldn't make them do the work for free, because the law doesn't like to force people to work together. But a judge could order them to pay for the cost of having the engine repaired elsewhere, if they were negligent in not finding the problem. With that said, violation of the law requiring written estimates and limiting repairs to 10% over the estimate is ALSO a violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act - which means that if you have to go to court, the judge can order them to pay you THREE TIMES your damages PLUS your attorney's fees. Explaining that to the mechanic could make them surprisingly cooperative if they're giving you a hard time. They don't want to pay that. That means you can also file a complaint with the state and ask them to investigate the company's unfair practices (and you can let them know that you WILL be filing the report if they don't fix your car). Here is more information on your rights as a consumer. If you have low-income or are over the age of 60, you may qualify for legal assistance from this organization: If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply without rating so I may address them. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively to redirect a portion of the payment you have already made so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

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