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)