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The body shop messed up, and I need help getting a settlement.

Lockport, IL |

I took my car to a body shop to get some custom side skirt work done for $500 (not including the expensive DuPont paint & clearcoat that I provided for the shop to use). I handed the car off on a Saturday morning, and the owner ensured it would be done by Monday. The work took until Friday. Upon inspecting the work, it had several flaws: chipped paint, holes, unglazed holes, rough fender arches, and paint runs. I came to an agreement with the owner that he would fix it at no extra cost. We wrote down the repairs to be made on the invoice and he signed it. I bring the car back on a Friday night and the repairs take longer than expected. What I get back are oversprays and the car is painted the wrong color. I'd like to get money back to cover repair costs elswehere. What are my options?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

It looks as if the informal ways of resolving this are over; your choices are suing and suing. Perhaps going to small claims court is the answer. I see that you are from Illinois--there could be claims that can be addressed by our Automotive Repair Act. If not, then breach of contract..

Roy Lee Wolgamuth

Roy Lee Wolgamuth

Posted

I agree except I would suggest sending the paint shop a demand letter may be of some value.

Asker

Posted

How long do I have to initiate a lawsuit with this body shop? Is it worth filing a complaint with the BBB or Illinois Attorney General first for a shop that is not a member of the BBB, let alone seems to have much online advertising?

Dmitry N Feofanov

Dmitry N Feofanov

Posted

Without looking at your documents I cannot be certain, but generally 3 years for any Consumer Fraud Act violations. You certainly can complain to either AG or BBB, but, in my experience, it is pointless.

Ronald Lee Burdge

Ronald Lee Burdge

Posted

You are from Illinois. Dmitry is from Illinois. He knows your law and he is very, very good. I highly recommend you call him.

Asker

Posted

In the Illinois Automotive Collision Repair Act (815 ILCS 308/70), I found this: "(9) Failing to honor a warranty, guarantee, or service agreement to which the collision repair facility is party." What the body shop has done incorrectly is labeled as an unlawful practice, and as far as I am concerned, this statement describes my situation. The Automobile Repair Act states that violation is deemed an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. In this act, I found this section, which again I think applies to my situation: "(815 ILCS 505/10a) (from Ch. 121 1/2, par. 270a) Sec. 10a. Action for actual damages. (a) Any person who suffers actual damage as a result of a violation of this Act committed by any other person may bring an action against such person. The court, in its discretion may award actual economic damages or any other relief which the court deems proper; provided, however, that no award of punitive damages may be assessed under this Section against a party defendant who is a new vehicle dealer or used vehicle dealer within the meaning of Chapter 5 of the Illinois Vehicle Code or who is the holder of a retail installment contract within the meaning of Section 2.12 of the Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act, unless the conduct engaged in was willful or intentional and done with evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of others. Proof of a public injury, a pattern, or an effect on consumers and the public interest generally shall be required in order to state a cause of action under this Section against a party defendant who is a new vehicle dealer or used vehicle dealer within the meaning of Chapter 5 of the Illinois Vehicle Code or who is the holder of a retail installment contract within the meaning of Section 2.12 of the Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act. Proof of such public injury may be shown by any one of the following factors: ..." Would it be beneficial for a plaintiff in a Small Claims dispute to cite these Acts in court if the plaintiff believes that the defendant has violated the plaintiff's rights, as stated in these acts?

Posted

First, Dmitry is right. But here's the general rules that apply just about everywhere when you take your vehicWhen you take a car to a repair shop for them to do any kind of work on your car, you have the right to expect the work will be done right. And unless they use special language to avoid giving you a warranty, in most states you automatically get a warranty that they are going to do the work in a "good workmanlike manner." That basically requires that they do the repair or service work right. If they don't, then you have a right to recover damages for what they do wrong or the damage they cause (or, if they don’t return the car at all, for the value of the car itself). But you have to be able to prove that the reason for your new problems is something that the repair shop did or did not do. In other words, you have to be able to show that it was fault of the repair shop. But you first have to give the repair shop the chance to make it right so the first thing to do is ask the repair shop to fix it. If they won’t do it under their own warranty, then you have the right to get it fixed somewhere else and then hold the first repair shop liable for the repair cost. If the cost is less than a thousand dollars or so, you may be able to sue the shop in your local small claims court without needing a lawyer. Doing the repair work badly may also violate other consumer protection laws in your state. Because the law is different in each state you need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney. And that brings us back to what Dmitry said. It's time to call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you or you can go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers (http://www.ohiolemonlaw.com/ocll-site/ocll-locate_local.shtml) and find one near you (lawyers don’t pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national association for Consumer Law lawyers, NACA.net). But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are.

This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The law in your state may differ and your best answer will always come from a local attorney that you meet with privately. If you need a Consumer Law attorney, click the link above to find a Consumer Law attorney near you.

Posted

In addition to these other wise responses, it is not unusual for a state to have an investigation process into licensed folks who do not do a good job and in turn, that pressure, forcing them to do the right thing, so...

Consider contacting the proper state licensing authorities for this business to see if they will investigate your issues.

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