Consumer: Car Repair Claims
Authored By: Legal Aid of North Carolina
You can bring an action in Small Claims Court against the car mechanic or repair shop if:
1. You have paid a car mechanic or repair shop to repair your car;
2. The repairs were not done correctly;
3. The mechanic or repair shop refuses to correct the problem; and
4. You are seeking damages of $5,000.00 or less.
Filling Out the Complaint for Money Owed
1. You will be the plaintiff in the case. The car mechanic or repair shop is the defendant. You should bring your case in the county where the car mechanic or repair shop is located. See Court form here.
2. Your damages are:
- The cost to repair your car to the condition it would have been in if the repairs were done correctly.
- The loss of use of the car if you were deprived of the use of the car for an unreasonable amount of time. You can use the rental value of a similar car for the amount of days you did not have your car.
- Other expenses you incurred.
3. Check "Other", the last box on the form.
You must also write in the box why the car mechanic or repair shop owes you money. For example: Defendant and I agreed that I would pay Defendant to make repairs to my car. The repairs were not done correctly or as we agreed. Defendant refuses to correct the problem, and I have suffered damages as a result.
Your Court Hearing in Small Claims Court
This is what you need to prove in court:
1. The agreement between you and the mechanic or repair shop.
You may show the agreement with your testimony and the testimony of witnesses or any writing or document that refers to the agreement.
A written estimate of the repairs may also show the repair work agreed to be done and the cost of repairs. This may be the best way to prove the agreement
2. That the repairs were not done as agreed or were done incorrectly.
It is essential that you secure the testimony of a reputable mechanic who has examined the car to show that the car was not repaired properly.
Make sure that the mechanic who evaluated the car is willing to testify for you. Without this testimony you will not be able to prove an essential element of your case.
3. The damages you have suffered.
The mechanic testifying for you may also testify about the cost of repairs to the car to restore it to the condition it would have been if the repairs had been done correctly
You may be entitled to other damages such as loss of use of the car if you have been deprived of the use of the car for an unreasonable amount of time. To prove loss of use you can use the rental value of a comparable car for the amount of days in which you did not have your car.
The North Carolina Vehicle Repair Act
North Carolina has statutes specifically governing car repair practices. These statutes require for mechanics to provide written estimates of the cost of repairs when repairs are over $350.0. It also protects consumers of charges in excess of those disclosed in the original estimate and requires disclosure of information to the consumer. N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-354.
If you believe that the mechanic did not follow the N.C. Vehicle Repair Act, you should contact an attorney.