My mechanic does the work before he gives me a quote!

Our current and soon to be ex-mechanic is doing the work on our cars without ever calling to give us a quote. What I want to know is, is this in fact, illegal? I am looking for a source online to print out and take to them stating it’s ILLEGAL to do any kind of work on a vehicle unless a quote has been agreed upon with a customer. (state is TN)


Here is the link to TN Consumer Affairs:

Then go to 2007 Consumer Protection Act link. Go to pages 196-197

If a repair is over $250, an estimate is required, as I read this act.

Thank you so much, this is just what I’m looking for! Much Appreciated!!

It is only a problem if you disagree on a bill in reality. Then you don’t have to necessarily pay for it as you will likely win in court given the mechanic has no proof of prior authorization.

He likely should have had your approval, but answer these questions before you go to battle: Was the work needed? Was it done adequately? Was it done for a reasonable price? You may want to pay and go on your way (never to return) if you answer ‘yes’ to these questions. Legal battles can be very expensive, and he may try to invoke a ‘mechanic’s lein’ and confiscate the vehicles if you refuse to pay.

Whether the work was needed or not… he has to give you a estimate for the repairs and you have to give him the authorization to proceed. If he went ahead with repairs without your approval you don’t have to pay for the repairs.

None of my techs were allowed to proceed with any repairs until the customer had given us the go ahead. If a tech proceeded without a customer OK he would not get paid for that job and we would not charge the customer.

No mechanic should do work that was not approved.We have discussed this issue before.Some people feel that if the work was needed,done at a fair price,and done well then a customer OK is not required.These people are wrong.

If you expressed to the mechanic, in general terms, to “find the problem and fix it”; or, words to that effect, YOU left the door open to misinterpretation.

“Legal battles can be very expensive, and he may try to invoke a ‘mechanic’s lein’ and confiscate the vehicles if you refuse.”

This can be avoided by putting the money in escrow.

I would give texases’ advice some additional thought. Is this a mechanic that you’re otherwise happy with, (trust, honest reliable work, fair rates)?

If so, then be make sure the reason you’re about burn bridges is worth it to you in the long run.

My opinion is that an estimate should be given, if possible, before any work is performed even if an estimate is not required.

How about providing some details as to what car problems you’re suffering because there are many repairs in which it is impossible to give an estimate.

Exactly what occurred here and roughly, what was said? Are you saying you dropped the car off and they simply started twisting wrenches?

I have worked as a mechanic, and I have used mechanics (though rarely), and I agree that he absolutely owes you a call as soon as he knows for sure what is wrong, but I am going to go against the consensus of what several have written here.

If you have a good relationship with your mechanic, and you don’t require an estimate up front before you leave the shop, you will pay a lot less for auto repairs.

If your mechanic knows that you trust him, he will open it up, find the problem, let you know what is wrong, fix it, and put the car back together. If he thinks you don’t trust him and you demand a full cost quote up front, he assumes you will bring the car back a month later demanding that he repair for free anything that fails that is even remotely connected with what he fixed. Therefore, he will write you a quote for replacing everything even remotely connected with what he thinks is wrong. When he opens it up, do you think he is going to replace only the $100 failed part when you have already authorized $1200 in repairs? Heck no. You are going to get, not only the voltage regulator that you actually need, but also a new alternator, a new battery, probably a new starter, and…

An up-front estimate is fine for something like a clutch job where the only variables are whether he finds that you need a U-joint or a tranny mount, but for most repairs, all I ask is a courtesy call once he gets it open and knows what he is looking at.

If your mechanic did the whole job without even giving you a courtesy call to keep you in the loop, then you need to have a serious talk with him, or you need to find someone else.