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Watch the Fine Print on Mechanic Estimates and Invoices!

Invoice cartoonWhen you go to a mechanic shop to have repairs made to your equipment, the shop typically gives you an estimate, an invoice, or both.  What happens if they mess up on the repairs?  The fine print on the front and back of these documents may affect your rights. Watch the fine print on any mechanic estimates or invoices!

Estimates, invoice and other contracts may contain legal language which is very important to read and strike through, if necessary.  Unfavorable wording can potentially harm your chances for success when pursuing a mechanic for negligent repairs.

A few examples of wording that could potentially harm a case include the following:

  • If you wish to pursue the mechanic for any claim, it must be handled by AAA (American Arbitration Association) rather than a court of law.
  • All claims must be brought to court or arbitration within 6 months of the repair.
  • The parties agree that even if there is negligence by the mechanic, there is no claim for lost income, out of pocket costs, or other consequential damages or expenses relating to the repair.
  • The mechanic will be held harmless from anything that happens to your equipment while in the shop.

With each of these statements or variations of them, the laws and results vary from state to state.  Whether these terms and conditions are binding will also vary by circumstances.  If you do not agree with the wording of any paperwork given to you, even if you aren’t asked to sign it, consider striking out the offensive language and initialing the changes before any work is done. Ideally, the mechanic shop should initial the changes as well.

Be sure to keep a copy of any emails and a list of all calls with the shop.  Something said or written may modify the original agreement. Confirm any verbal discussions in writing to keep everyone on the same page.


The information provided on this site is general in nature and is not legal advice. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. One of our goals is to assist you in making that decision by assuring that you know more about the law and the nature of legal issues which are of concern to you. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.