Am I legally responsible for paying labor costs for a repair to a car that still doesn’t run?

UPDATED: Jun 26, 2015

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Am I legally responsible for paying labor costs for a repair to a car that still doesn’t run?

Asked on June 26, 2015 under General Practice, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. It depends on--

1) The terms under which the work was done--did they guaranty it would run (so no payment if doesn't run) or not?

2) If there was no guaranty, then the issue becomes did they do the work to currently accepted professional standards--e.g. spend a reasonable amount time doing what any competent shop or mechanic would do--but despite their best efforts, there are more problems (or bigger, or more intractable) problems than anyone had thought, and the car can't be made to run? If this is the case, they would be entitled to labor costs, since they legitimately spent time working on the car and it's not their fault it did not work. Or if you believe that they did not do a professional job and the problem is they were careless, unqualified, didn't actually do the work they said they did, or anything like that, they would not be entitled to the money.

You also have to weigh that even if you think they are not entitled to pay, if they disagree and sue you for the money, whether it is worth having to defend a lawsuit; even if you win (and winning is never guaranteed), you'll still spend time and possibly money on the defense.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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