Understand what can happen if you don’t pay

Can the repair shop charge me more than they said they would?
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Understand what can happen if you don’t pay

The law lets you refuse to pay for work that you did not agree to. But if you don’t pay, it may be hard to get your car keys back from the repair shop.

If the shop followed the rules about estimates and you agreed to the work, they can keep your car if you refuse to pay your bill. They can sue you for the money owing, and even sell your car if you don’t pay for more than 60 days.  However, they can’t keep your car if they did extra work, or did different work than you agreed to. For example, they can’t keep your car if they steam-cleaned the engine, when you didn’t ask for that.

If you did not agree to the work, it will be harder for the repair shop to sue you for the money.

If you need your car back right away, you can choose to pay your bill and take legal action against the repair shop later. For example, you can sue the shop in Small Claims Court.

You can also leave the car with the repair shop while you take action against them.
For example, you can write a complaint letter or sue them in small claims court.

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Consumer Protection Ontario
Reviewed: January 2, 2020

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