Auto Repair Business Owners - Do you use online signatures to charge credit card?

I’ve recently run into a problem with a customer we charged after getting the go-ahead over the phone. The customer had an issue with the repair and put a stop payment on his card. We’re disputing this with the credit card company and they asked us if we got written confirmation to charge his card. We said no and he told us over the phone. That was not good enough for them.

I want to solve this problem by maybe sending an invoice through email? or having them run through an online signature or something. Do any of you business owners send invoices through email? or something like there where the customer can pay online? This way there would be no question about authentication of the charges. Thanks!

Can’t a charge be disputed even if the go-ahead is in writing? Would proven authentication really change this scenario? You say “The customer had an issue with the repair and put a stop payment on his card.” Did the customer deny authorizing the repair or just have a problem with the outcome of it?

Yeah, let’s hear some more details, please

Was the repair not successful?

If so, is that the reason the customer put a stop payment on the card?

Is he claiming the final amount amount is much higher than what you originally estimated?

or is he simply putting a stop payment on the card, BECAUSE you didn’t get the signature in writing? What I’m getting at is this . . . do you think perhaps the customer is a scumbag who planned the whole thing? And the end result is he got an expensive repair for free?

For free to him, only. Your shop is the one absorbing the cost

I’ve observed plenty of customers over the years, who walk into a business and look for a “weakness” and then fully exploit it to their advantage, and always within the bounds of the law. And they repeat that their entire lives. Because they have no morals, and no sense of fair play

To make it clear, I’m on your side.

I’m not saying the customer is right. I’m just saying that if he were dispute the charge, or put a hold on payment, the simple fact that his physical signature was not obtained, will weigh heavily in his favor

One more question . . . was this a new customer?

I know many businesses will only go ahead on a repair, based on verbal okay, with their most trusted and veteran customers. Otherwise, a physical signature is needed

I’m sorry if this hasn’t been helpful. I’m just adding my own observations and speculations

In every shop I’ve worked in and in my own shop a customer signature was always gotten before the car was even pulled into the shop for an inspection or estimate. The rare exceptions were those people whom we were almost on a personal friendship level with.
Some states require signatures. Whether your state does I have no idea.

I’m curious about the storyline behind the customer doing this and I can certainly side with db4690 about that certain percentage. That certain percentage will plan it out a week before, have the work done, and then follow through with a stop payment.

I read your last paragraph as meaning what is to be done to prevent future problems and my feeling is that a hand written signature is always best. If push comes to shove on a repair with an email invoice whose to say they will claim to have not gotten it, email went down, someone hacked them, etc, etc.
Even a handwritten signature is not always the last word. We’ve had people sign a repair order and then deny signing it. In one case, this guy signed a RO not once or twice, but three times and denied doing it. :slight_smile:

The invoice and charge receipt must be signed before the vehicle is released.

With a signature if the charge is put into dispute, the question should be whether or not the customer received the service he was charged for.

Lots of businesses of all types accept credit cards on phone orders. Your situation is really no different from that. I’m not a merchant, so I have no idea of the credit card company rules on those phone orders, but it’s hard to believe all these businesses are doing something that’s contrary to those rules.

I ran a storage facility for a couple of years and when ever a card was declined or disputed I called the customer first. Sometimes it was an expired card or in one case someone had gotten the customers card number and all charges were disputed and the customers actual charges were paid with a new card. What does the customer have to say?

I had a new tire put on the kids car at school 200 miles away. I just gave the shop my CC number and no problem. Maybe the kid signed something but I dunno. Seems like it should be more a question of the service provided rather than the legitimacy of the charge itself.

I had my card declined once at a truck stop for a tank of diesel. I have no idea why. There was nothing wrong with the card and had about a $70 balance. The old bat went ape over it though. Wouldn’t take another card or check. The only cash I had was $100 bills for vacation. She didn’t like it but she took it. She musta keyed something wrong. Way to make friends though and happy customers.


I’ve also had cards declined over the years . . . the reason has almost always been that I’m using the card far away from my registered address. Because I was on a trip

When I called the credit card company, that was the explanation, anyways

I guess next time I’ll call the credit card company ahead of time . . .

I’ve had a card declined for non-use. A card I kept “just in case” didn’t work. Kinda defeats the purpose of a back-up card so I cut it up.

It is recommended that a backup card be used twice a year and the balance paid at the statement time or before.

My cards were always declined at one local station. The last time, I made the manager walk with me and watch me insert that same card he handed back…into the Tyme Machine 10 feet away, and get the cash.

It proved that it was their crappy service provider that they were connected to. They switched providers and I’ve never been rejected there again.


I’ve got a card I haven’t used in several years but like to have it as a back up for traveling. I think I’d better try it next time I get gas or something.

I think a legal forum would be a better place to post your question.
Or perhaps directly to your business’ lawyer.

The laws vary from state. In California the repair order first has to be signed with a written estimate. If additional work is needed it can be verbally authorized but date and time must be documented on the repair order. If the repair was completed or maintenence was performed as agreed and the card still is declined you can pursue the issue in small claims. If you have a business attorney speak with them first. Can you tell us what was done and why the customer is disputing the charge?