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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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I put my truck in the shop seven weeks ago complete engine

Customer Question

I put my truck in the shop seven weeks ago for a complete engine rebuild. This was to take two weeks. After two weeks I we t to check on it and was told I needed eight injectors that wasn't covered Ln the price of the rebuild. I told them that it didn't need them that it was running when it came in. I was told that it had a miss in it that the injectors would fix it. Come to find out they hadn't even got it cranked. They burned up booth batteries and a starter trying to get it started. They said it was running but not right, that it has electrical problems and it will be two more weeks before it wild be ready. That will be nine weeks all together. What are my options. I need my truck.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Auto repair complaints in Texas are covered by the Texas Attorney General's Office: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/car-repairs

There is a series of escalating things you can do to deal with this situation. (Some of these are things you have already done - if you have not followed up phone calls and in person complaints in writing, make sure you do so; and some things may not apply - such as payment by credit card; but I want to provide you with a complete list of options so that you have an overview of things that you can do to pursue getting your truck back as quickly as possible).

Also, none of these steps is "mandatory" - you can use any, or all of them, and if you wish you can skip straight to filing a small claims action against the shop (see: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/sls/forms/How-to-Sue-in-Small-Claims-Court.pdf)

  • *First: start with the company's customer service and dispute the claim. Keep your complaint in writing. If you speak to someone by phone, follow up promptly with a "confirmation letter" (see my note below).
  • *Second: (you can do this at the same time), if you paid by credit card (not debit card) you can open a dispute with your credit card carrier (follow the instructions with your credit card company). (Some banks do allow for charge disputes on your debit card - but not all, the laws are not the same and debit card purchases do not have the same protections, if you paid by debit card, contact your bank and see if they do have dispute resolution remedies).
  • *Third: open a dispute with the BBB. The BBB offers consumer dispute resolution that is fast, free to consumers, and is usually effective, they have no enforcement authority, but all BBB disputes result in a public report regarding resolution so businesses do respond to them. You can open a BBB dispute here: bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
  • *Fourth: if you believe that the company is acting fraudulently (not just charging high rates), you can report them to the state Attorney General. The AG's office does not prosecute individual claims (so they will not get your money back for you), but they will investigate and potentially take administrative and/or criminal action against the company.
  • *Finally: you can file a small claims action against them for breach of contract. Small claims actions take approximately 3-8 months to go to trial. There is no guarantee of success in these disputes, but filing a small claims action does open an opportunity to negotiate a resolution (in addition to the above opportunities and can lead to mediation - many courts offer mediation programs for their small claims docket).

Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.

I wish you the best of luck with this dispute, and hopefully a speedy resolution.