How to Dispute Car Repair Bills


If you are unhappy with the repairs your car received at an auto repair shop or if you believe you have been overcharged, you have a right to dispute your car repair bill. Auto repair shops often pay fixed amounts for parts, but they just as frequently have a great deal of leeway in terms of how much they charge for labor. When it comes to auto repairs, many items are negotiable. The trick is to get your car keys back from the shop along with a bill that you are satisfied with.

  • Show the mechanic the estimate he gave for the car, if the final bill is significantly more than the estimated expenses without justification. The estimate is just that: an estimate. But if the final bill is more than 10 percent greater than the estimate, you should say something. Many times the clerk or manager will lower the bill.

  • Get estimates on the repairs from other shops in the area. If you find that several shops pay one amount for a particular part but the mechanic you hired is charging you significantly more, you have a valid dispute.

  • Show the clerk a previous car repair bill if this is not your first time taking your car to the given repair specialist for a specific problem. You have a legitimate complaint for double-paying on a given car repair, if the repair shop didn't fix the problem in the first place and is charging you a second time to fix the same problem.

  • Have a heart-to-heart discussion with the car repair clerk about your financial situation, if you are a regular customer and if paying the bill will break your bank. If you tell the clerk that you are having a difficult time paying the bill, they may show you leniency and lower the labor rate or reduce other superfluous charges.

  • Ask to speak to a manager if you aren't getting the results you need from the car repair clerk. If the manager is at another location, either speak to the manager on the phone or go visit him at the other location to dispute your bill.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be polite and professional at all times when you speak with a car repair clerk about your bill dispute. Raising your voice and showing your temper rarely gets results.
  • If a car repair shop refuses to fix a bill, contact your state attorney general's office for assistance or call your local Better Business Bureau to mediate.

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