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Office of Consumer Protection

Automobile Repair Law Summary

Summary of Montgomery County Code 31-A Automobile Repair:

  • Estimates for work over $25.00 must be given upon request, and the final bill must be within 10% of the estimate unless the customer is notified.
  • Used, or rebuilt parts are to be identified in the estimate. The customer's description of the problem, or requests for repair are to be included.
  • Labor charges, service charges, charges for release of the vehicle in the event that it is not repaired, charges if any, for making the estimate are to be stated prior to making the estimate.
  • A detailed invoice identifying the customer and vehicle, including the odometer reading, is to be provided upon completion of repairs.
  • The invoice is to be signed by the merchant. The technician is to be identified, terms or limitations of the warranty must be stated, and replaced parts are to be offered, except parts returned to the manufacturer under warranty.
  • Parts to be rebuilt, called "Core" parts, can be returned, but the consumer will have to pay the charge the shop would receive as credit. If you do not want to pay the core charges, most repair facilities will let you see the parts before they are sent back, as long as arrangements are made before the job is accepted.
  • Notices are to be posted advising consumers of their rights, and the shop's policy on storage charges. No storage charges are due for a period of twenty-four hours from the date of completion of the repairs, unless otherwise agreed.
  • Not all disclaimers are enforceable. Merchants are responsible to take reasonable care of your vehicle, though a court may have to make the decision of what is "reasonable".
  • Having repairs made by another shop will complicate your complaint, and in many cases, will result in the need to pursue the matter through Court. Give the repairing shop a "reasonable" number of attempts to correct problems.
  • Keep the replaced parts, and your receipts, then contact Consumer Protection if you need assistance.

To read the complete text of the statute, you can access the Montgomery County Code through the County's web site: http:/OCP/Resources/Files//OCP/Resources/Files/

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