After an auto collision in Pennsylvania, it may be up to you to navigate the process for repairing your vehicle. While an auto mechanic will provide a repair estimate for you, it is your responsibility to know your rights and protect them during the process. In Pennsylvania, auto repair shops and technicians must follow certain rules and regulations during vehicle repairs. If they fail to fulfill their duties of care to you during the repair process, you may have a claim against the mechanic.
Official Repair Shop Definition
In Pennsylvania, only certain establishments qualify as official repair shops. The company or individual must engage in the business of diagnosing damaged vehicles, repairing malfunctioning vehicles, or providing vehicle maintenance services. Repair shops can include traditional mechanics, auto body shops, and stores that offer car repair services (such as Wal-Mart). The state’s definition of an auto repair shop does not, however, cover government agencies or businesses that repair vehicles for their employees.
Duties an Auto Mechanic Owes a Customer
During your repair experience with an auto shop in Philadelphia, the establishment must comply with certain regulations for lawful servicing. It is important to know what the auto shop owes you during your repair experience. Otherwise, you could fall victim to unethical business tactics that ultimately cost you money. Each state has its own collision repair laws and regulations monitoring how auto shops deal with their customers.
- The right to choose your shop: As the owner of the damaged vehicle, it is your legal right to select the repair shop of your choice for repairs. Make sure you select a genuine, verified auto shop for trustworthy services. An insurance company must provide a list of shops that can repair the vehicle, but must also let you know you have the right to choose.
- The right to give your approval to changes: If a vehicle repair appraiser needs to move your vehicle to a different location, he or she must first obtain your consent to the change. An insurance company cannot force you to travel an unreasonable distance for a repair estimate.
- Damage appraisal rules: If an insurance company issues a damage estimate, it must be a reasonable amount to satisfactorily repair the damage or replace the vehicle. The insurance company must provide the names of at least two conveniently located shops that can conduct the repairs for the appraised price upon request.
- Invoice requirements: All auto shops must provide estimates and obtain the owner’s authorizing before conducting and charge for repairs, according to the Automotive Industry Trade Practices Regulations. If the shop does not get the owner’s permission, the owner does not have to pay for unapproved services rendered.
- Used or after-market parts: The auto shop must inform you that it will use non-original equipment manufacturing (OEM) parts in the repair. It must list these parts on a repair appraisal before conducting any work on the vehicle.
- Condition of replacement parts: An auto shop must replace broken or damaged parts with parts of an equivalent or better condition. If a non-OEM replacement part will void an existing warranty, the replacement part must have an equivalent or better warranty.
- Restoration in a reasonable amount of time: If an insurance company agrees to cover damage repair costs in a first-party insurance claim, it must restore the vehicle back to its pre-crash condition at no additional fees to the owner other than those the policy lists, within a reasonable time.
As the owner of a wrecked or damaged vehicle in Pennsylvania, you have rights. Auto mechanics must deal with your issue fairly and reasonably. If you believe an auto mechanic has broken a state law, dealt with your case unfairly, or overcharged you for services, discuss your car accident claim with an attorney. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer can help you file a claim against the auto shop in pursuit of a fair price, money reimbursements, or additional vehicle repairs.