West Virginia Auto Repair Laws

January 30, 2023

In most situations, the relationship between an individual and their mechanic is lopsided. What we mean by this is that the mechanics know far more about vehicles and vehicle repair than individuals needing the repair. You might be worried about a repair shop taking advantage of you and cheating you out of your money. However, you have rights when it comes to getting your vehicle repaired and not being taken care of. These consumer protections are vital.

Your Right to Repairs Made in a Professional Manner

Consumer protection laws in West Virginia say that individuals have a right to have their vehicles repaired in a professional manner. Under state law, we can see the public is protected against fraudulent auto repair practices, but what does this mean?

Fraudulent repair practices are defined in various ways and in length under state law. Some of the most common fraudulent practices that consumers run into throughout West Virginia include the following:

  • Refusing to return a consumer’s vehicle because the consumer refused to pay for unauthorized repair work
  • Misrepresenting auto repair work that has been made to the vehicle
  • Misrepresenting auto repair work necessary to fully repair the vehicle
  • Telling a consumer that the motor vehicle is in a dangerous condition or that continued use of the vehicle could be harmful when it really is not
  • Telling a consumer that the vehicle will not pass state inspections or is not in compliance with regulations when it otherwise is not
  • Performing unauthorized work in connection with any misrepresentation
  • Fraudulently altering any consumer contract, estimate, or invoice
  • Fraudulently misusing a consumer’s credit card or bank card

If an individual has an issue with a repair shop, particularly with the repairs that have been made, they should first alert the owner of the shop where the repairs were made. If the shop maintains that the problems are unrelated to their work, individuals should get a second opinion from another repair shop.

If a second opinion reveals that issues were associated with the original repairs made by the first shop, consumers can demand that the original repair shop repair the problem at no additional cost. If they refuse, consumers should get a written estimate of the cost of the repair and consider filing a lawsuit against the original repair shop.

The West Virginia Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) statutes say that if a mechanic violated a UDAP code, the consumer can recover at least $200, regardless of how much the repairs were. Additionally, the garage could be forced to pay the consumer’s attorney fees if they win their claim. In the event the state attorney general brings a lawsuit against the repair shop and wins the case, this could be used as conclusive proof of wrongdoing in their own lawsuit against the shop.

Consumers in West Virginia are asked to report any issues with a repair shop to the Division of Consumer Protection at the Attorney General’s office before proceeding with a lawsuit. This division has a toll-free hotline that individuals can call at (800) 368-8808.

We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled personal injury attorney in Martinsburg who has experience handling these claims if you are considering filing a lawsuit against the repair shop.


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