I paid for auto repairs, and my car still isn’t working properly. What rights do I have?

Consumers have the right to have repairs made in a professional manner. You should first call the problems to the attention of the garage where the repairs were made. If the garage maintains that the problems are unrelated consider getting another opinion before allowing the garage to proceed with additional repairs. 

If the second opinion reveals that the problems are associated with the original repairs, then you can demand that the original garage repair the problem at no additional cost. If they refuse, you can use a written estimate of the cost of the repair as a basis for a lawsuit. 

West Virginia has adopted consumer protection laws that are designed to protect consumers from defective workmanship and fraud. The laws follow the Federal Trade Commission Act and are called the West Virginia Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) statutes. 

In court, if your mechanic violated a UDAP statute, you can recover at least $200, no matter how much the repairs were. In addition, the garage may be forced to pay your attorney fees if you win. 

The West Virginia Division of Consumer Protection is under the authority of the State Attorney General. If the Attorney General brings a suit against the garage and wins, you can use this as conclusive proof in your own suit. Consequently, a successful action by the Attorney General makes your case very strong. 

Consumers are advised to report any problems to the Division of Consumer Protection in the Attorney General’s office before proceeding with a lawsuit. The Division of Consumer Protection has a toll free hotline:  

1 (800) 368-8808. (See also Appendix A for a copy of the Consumer Protection Division’s Consumer Motor Vehicle Complaint Form and instructions for filing.) 

For more information, see: 15 U.S.C. §§ 41-58 (2015); Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 2301-2312 (2015); W. Va. Code §§ 46A-6-101 to -109 (2015); W. Va. Code § 46A-7-101 (2015); Horan v. Turnpike Ford, Inc., 189 W. Va. 621, 433 S.E.2d 559 (1993); Orlando v. Finance One, 179 W. Va. 447, 369 S.E.2d 882 (1988).