Auto Repair Issues

What can I do if . . .

The repair shop wants more money than they told me it would cost to repair my car?
You can bond out your car. To do so, obtain a copy of the bill from the shop and file a bond for the amount of the final repair bill plus storage charges, if any, with the Clerk of the Circuit Court at 201 SE 6th Street in Fort Lauderdale. The Clerk will issue a certificate directing the shop to release your vehicle. You may wish to ask a police officer to be present when you deliver the certificate to the shop. The repair shop then has 60 days to file a lawsuit against you to recover the money you posted as bond for the repair. If the shop files a lawsuit against you, a hearing will be held and the court will determine how much the shop should receive from the bond money; any amount remaining will be returned to you. If the shop does not sue you within 60 days, the Clerk will return the bond money to you.

The repair shop didn’t replace the plug  repair after changing the oil in my vehicle; now the engine is blown?
We can only seek to recover the amount you paid the shop for the oil change. The resulting damage to your engine and the cost to repair it is considered a damage complaint which can only be addressed through the courts. If you choose to file a lawsuit in court against the repair shop, the maximum recovery in Small Claims Court is $5,000. If your damage complaint is greater than that amount, you should consult a private attorney before you proceed.

The repair shop gave me a warranty after repairing my vehicle, but now they won’t honor it?
You should file a complaint with us if the warranty provided by the shop is in writing.  If the warranty given was oral, you will need to seek to enforce it through the courts.

The repair shop repaired my vehicle last week, and now I’m having the same problem again?
If you have already taken your vehicle back to the repair shop that did the work and it will not address the problem, you should file a complaint with us.  When doing so, you should provide copies of all documents related to the repair, including estimates, invoices and proof of payment.  Note: having the problem fixed by a different shop will cover up and destroy evidence of the original repair shop’s work.  If your vehicle has been repaired by a different shop, be sure to obtain a written document, signed by the certified auto repair technician of the second shop, which clearly states what work the technician determined the original shop did or did not do.  This written document should then be submitted as part of the complaint you file with Consumer Protection.

My vehicle has been at the repair shop for three months and they haven’t begun making the repairs?
If no work has been performed, you should remove your vehicle from the repair shop’s premises at once.  If the repair shop demands payment before it will release your vehicle, follow the instructions for bonding out your vehicle.

I brought my vehicle to a repair shop and they refused to give me a written estimate?
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act requires that a written estimate be provided if the repairs will exceed $100, unless the vehicle was towed to the repair shop or you specifically waive your right in writing to receive a written estimate.  If the repair shop refuses to provide a written estimate, call the police.  The law requires that the repair estimate must contain:

  • The repair shop's name, address and telephone number.
  • The customer's name, address and telephone number.
  • Date and time of estimate.
  • Year, make, model, odometer reading and license tag number of vehicle.
  • Proposed work completion date.
  • Description of customer's problem or request.
  • Labor charges based on a flat rate, hourly rate, or both.
  • Estimated cost and charges for repair.
  • Charges for shop supplies or for hazardous or other waste removal.
  • Charges for making an estimate and the basis for the charge.
  • The customer's intended method of payment.
  • Name and telephone number of any alternate person the customer would allow to authorize repairs.
  • Terms of the parts and service guarantee.
  • Notation if customer wants replaced parts returned.
  • Charge for daily storage. Shops notify customers after repair work is completed; customers will then have three (3) working days to pick up the vehicle before storage fees may be charged.
  • Disclosure statement.

The repair shop refused to give me a final invoice or receipt for my cash payment?
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act requires that a repair shop provide a customer a written invoice upon completion of the repair work, and the repair invoice must include:

  • Date and odometer reading.
  • Description of work.
  • Labor, parts and other merchandise costs.
  • Nature of parts (new, used, rebuilt, etc.)
  • Guarantee, if any.
  • Registration number from the certificate issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles identifying your shop.

If a repair shop refuses to provide a final invoice or receipt, call the police. Check the invoice carefully to make certain that you understand the work that was performed and what you are paying for. Keep a copy of all work orders and receipts. Any guarantees or warranties provided by the repair shop should be in writing and be on the repair invoice or receipt.

Consumer Resources

Broward County Clerk of the Courts
Broward County Consumer Protection Code
Consumer Complaint Forms
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Federal Trade Commission
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Florida Division of Consumer Services
Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act​