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Service without Authorization
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* November 16, 2010, 09:58:07 AM
I am curious if it\'s illegal (in CA) for a dealer/mechanic to perform additional work without customer authorization.  I took my vehicle to the Claremont Toyota Dealership for a 30K mile service and they did an additional $400 of work.  

There must have been some misunderstanding when I mentioned that I have an extended warranty through my insurance carrier for urgent matters.  That was in the beginning of the conversation.  Toward the end I emphasized three times for the adviser to call me on my cell phone for anything needing repairing that day.  I got one message only on our house phone saying, \"Call me back.\"  I missed it because I was sleeping from working graveyard (and he knew that).

They changed out the water pump and did a brake service plus a few other items I could have done myself, all without my knowledge.  In discussing my dissatisfaction with them over the last week, they said they\'ll refund my $100 deductible.  The insurance took care of the water pump.  The problem is that the $42.50 brake service was not covered.  When I called back to say that they owe me about $150, which is everything beyond the expected service, they said, \"No. All you will get back is $100.\"

Where can I go from here?  Is it worth the fight or do I just let 400 of my Facebook friends know?  Might I have more leverage if my insurance knew what they did as well?


* November 16, 2010, 01:25:10 PM
That\'s a matter of state law. Some states have firm rules, others do not. Maybe contacting your state authorities - consumer affairs department, attorney general - would help. Maybe not.

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* November 17, 2010, 06:17:08 PM
Section quoted from the Consumer Protection Law

Under California law, all repair shops must register with the Department of Consumer Affairs\' Bureau of Automotive Repair, and must post a sign informing consumers of their rights.

The repair shop must provide the consumer a written estimate before any work is performed. The consumer should, however, ask ahead of time if he or she will be charged for the preparation of the estimate. Upon receiving the estimate, the consumer can choose to have the work done at that shop or may elect to go elsewhere. Once the consumer agrees to have work done, the technician will ask for authorization to do the work and to incur costs up to a certain amount. A consumer should never sign a blank work order.

Additional work cannot be done without the consent of the consumer. If the consumer gives a verbal authorization for additional work, the technician must make a notation of this on the written estimate, including the date and time the authorization was given, and the name and phone number of the person authorizing the work. After any repair work is completed, the repair shop must provide a legible copy of the repair invoice showing all work done, including work covered under warranty. The invoice also must itemize parts and labor separately, must list the parts used and must indicate if reconditioned or rebuilt parts were used.

Only thing I see as the possible hangup is the mentioning of the extended warranty which could have been taken as a green light to do any repairs they feel is necessary.  In the end, you are left holding a bill for $50 of an originally $400 bill.  I agree with Dave, your only recourse is to go with outside channels, the state\'s consumer agencies, 3rd party groups - someone that is not directly involved with the shop.  

Usually in this case - the process to \"fix\" this will cost you more out of pocket than just eating the bill.  Blogging and word of mouth can help your cause to a point - might not get your money back, but will let others know what to watch for.

2002 Corolla S, Silverstream, 1.8L 1ZZ-FE (VVT-i)
2003 Matrix XRS, Cosmic Blue, 1.8L 2ZZ-GE (VVTL-i) - RIP
2009 Matrix XRS, Blue Streak, 2.4L 2AZ-FE (VVT-i)

* November 19, 2010, 12:50:21 PM
Tx for the input, I appreciate the advice by everyone so far!


* December 23, 2010, 10:18:48 AM
See every states have their own rule and regulation and we should respect each of them as well...



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