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My car needs to be fixed. What should I think about?

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My car needs to be fixed. What should I think about?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

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My car needs to be fixed. What should I think about?
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Reviewed: 
December 31, 2016
Answer

If you know what the problem is, you might want to take your car to a garage that does this work. If you are not sure what the problem is, you can take it to an all-service garage, where they can run tests to figure out what the problem is.

The law in Ontario gives you rights and protection when you pay someone to repair your vehicle. These rules cover repairs to cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, and motor-assisted bicycles. The law applies to dealerships, neighbourhood garages, used car lots, and specialty garages.

For example, the law says that a repair shop must:

  • tell you what they charge for preparing an estimate before they actually give it to you
  • offer to give you a written estimate
  • charge no more than 10% more than the estimate they give you (for example, if the estimate was $1,000, the most they can charge is $1,100)
  • not do work that you have not agreed to
  • display a sign that says how much they charge for services and work
  • display a sign that tells you if their employees work on commission

Commission means that an employee gets paid based on how many parts they sell. The sign must tell you how much commission they get paid and for what parts. This helps you make an informed decision when you agree to pay for service or parts.

You should never sign a blank estimate or work order. If you do, it gives the repair shop permission to do whatever work they feel is necessary, even if you disagree.

If the car is still under its original warranty, you may want to take it to the dealership where you bought it for service. The dealer can tell you if the problem is covered by your warranty, or if you will have to pay for the repairs yourself. If you take your car somewhere other than the dealership while it is under warranty, you may lose your warranty.

If the part that broke is still under warranty from a repair shop, you should go back to the shop that did this repair.

Avoid any repair shop that does not follow these rules.

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