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How to Protect Yourself: Auto Repairs
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Every consumer, at one time or another, will face the need to get their car fixed. Auto Repair rip-offs consistently rank as the number 1 consumer complaint throughout the nation. How can you avoid these pitfalls and still keep your car in working order? Consider the following.


Find an auto repair shop before you need one.

This will avoid the pressure of a last minute choice. Ask friends, family members or co-workers to recommend repair shops they trust.

Be certain the repair shop honors any existing warranty on your car.

If not, you may be paying for parts or labor covered by your manufacture's or extended warranty.

Be certain the shop is qualified to complete the necessary repair.

Ask if the shop has experience working on the same type of vehicle as yours and has done this type of repair before.

In Florida, each repair shop must register with the State of Florida.

Ask to see their registration. Check with the agencies listed below to see if complaints have been filed against the shop.

If the repair exceeds $50, the shop MUST give a written estimate.

Be certain the estimate specifically identifies the condition to be repaired, the parts needed and the anticipated labor charge.

The repair shop must contact you before exceeding the estimate by $10 or 10% whichever is greater.
Shop around for the best deal.

Compare the estimates of the shops.

After the work is completed, the repair shop must provide:

A legible copy of the repair invoice showing the repair work done to correct the problem, an itemized description of parts and labor charges, as well as any guarantees.

Review this document carefully.

Ask questions if you do not understand anything contained in the ESTIMATE or REPAIR INVOICE.

If you have complaints:

Contact your local consumer protection agency, the Florida Attorney General's Office or Florida's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA.

Source: Originally developed by the Florida Attorney General's Office

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