What are my rights if a mechanic will not release my car?

UPDATED: Dec 19, 2013

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What are my rights if a mechanic will not release my car?

My dad took my car to a friend to be worked on. He knew the car was mine, but he was dealing with my dad since I was out of state. When I came back the car still hadn’t been fixed (about 3 months later) and I wanted to get my car back to have someone else fix it. However, the man is angry with my father over a separate business deal and will not let me have my car back. His stepfather, who owns the property where he lives, is now trying to charge me a storage fee. The mechanic had already assured my dad that there would be no problems with the car being there so long and no fees would be charged besides what we pay him for fixing the car. How likely is it that the judge will rule in my favor?

Asked on December 19, 2013 under Business Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you would seem to have the better of it: if a mechanic does not in fact repair a car, he will have breached his agreement, and you can recover the car (and would not have to pay him); and if the agreement had been no storage fees, he cannot now decide to charge them. Practically,  if there is nothing in writing setting out (1) the expected date the car would be done and/or (2) that there would be no storage fees, it will come down to testimony--that is, who has more and more credible/believable witnesses about what is going on?

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