Archive for July, 2009

Auto Repair – part 2

Repair shop is required to get your approval
You must give the repair shop your OK before any repair work can be done to your car. You can do this verbally or in writing. Even if you don’t ask for a written estimate, the shop needs your OK before they can work on your car. If the repair shop does any work on your car without your OK, you do not have to pay for that work. Furthermore, if you claim that the shop did work which was unauthorized by you, then the shop has to prove that you did authorize the work. This is why most repair shops will ask you to sign the repair order before the work begins.
When you go to pick up your car after the work has been done, you should get an invoice which tells you all the work which was done on your car. The invoice should also tell you the price of parts and labor, the hours the mechanic worked on the car, whether any used or reconditioned parts were used in the repair, and what the shop’s guarantee is.
The repair shop is required by law to have a sign measuring at least six square feet which informs you of these rights.

What if repairs are made without your approval?
If the repair shop has done work which you did not authorize, you do not have to pay for it. If you tell the shop that they have no right to payment for the unauthorized work, the shop will almost always dispute that with you. New Hampshire law also says, however, that the repair shop has a “lien” for unpaid parts and labor on your vehicle. That means that the repair shop may refuse to return the car to you until you pay.
A responsible repair shop will give you back your car if you pay for the authorized repairs and place the amount for the disputed repairs into an escrow account where it will be held until the dispute is cleared up.
If the shop forces you to pay the disputed amount before returning your car to you and you need the car back right away, you will probably have to pay the shop for the unauthorized repairs. However, you can then sue the repair shop in small claims court to get your money back.
If you do not need the car back immediately, you can go to court and file a claim against the repair shop. Once you charge that the shop has done work without your OK, the shop has to prove that you did authorize the repairs. If the shop cannot do that, the court should rule that the shop has no lien against your car and that the shop has to give you your money back.

Auto Repair – part 1

We all rely on our cars every day. We need them to be safe and reliable. Our cars take us to work and back, to the doctor’s, to the grocery store. So when the car needs repair, we need to be sure the work gets done correctly and promptly.

You have rights

When you need to repair your car, the repair shop has to figure out what is wrong, tell you how much it will cost to fix, and fix the problem correctly. This pamphlet will explain what the repair shop is required to do by law when you take your car to be repaired, and what you can do if the shop fails to repair your car properly.

What are your rights?

When you drop your car off for repair, you have the right under New Hampshire law to ask for a written estimate containing:

  • an itemization of the work to be done
  • an estimated price for the parts and labor necessary
  • and estimated completion date
  • You can also ask the shop to return to you any part that has to be replaced.
    If the repair is unusually expensive or complicated, it is a good idea to take your car to more than one repair shop so that you can get another opinion as to the extent and the cost of the repairs to be done.
    If you agree to have the repair work done as estimated, the repair shop may not exceed their estimate by more than 10% without your OK in advance.

    Safe Driving Tips – part 2

    Avoid Breakdowns

    Ensure your vehicle is well maintained and serviced for winter conditions.
    The cooling system contains sufficient anti-freeze.
    The battery is in good condition, topped up and fully charged.

    Before commencing your journey

    Check the weather forecasts:
    Consider if the journey is necessary:
    Consider alternative routes:
    Allow sufficient time for the journey taking account of the weather conditions.

    During your journey

    Watch your speed. Drive with regard to the road conditions and the speed limit.
    Watch for cold shaded spots and road bridges.
    Be aware that in poor weather conditions it may be difficult to read information on road traffic signs
    Avoid harsh braking and acceleration.
    Travel In the highest gear possible in icy conditions.
    Maintain a safe stopping distance at all times, remembering to increase this in wet or icy conditions.
    Salting vehicles spread salt across the full width of roads. Give space to salt spreaders and to snow ploughs. Do not overtake.
    Watch out for other road users – motorcycles, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.
    Use dipped headlights in poor visibility.
    Take breaks every 2/3 hours. In adverse conditions driver fatique can be increased and frequent breaks are required.

    Equipment to carry on long journeys

    Mobile phone
    Additional warm clothing
    Rug or blanket
    Flask or hot drink or food

    If stranded

    If your vehicle breaks down, pull as far off the road as possible. Your greatest personal danger at this point is that of being hit by passing vehicles.
    Try to ensure that your vehicle will not block access for emergency vehicles. (Abandoned and stationary vehicles are the main causes of salt spreaders being obstructed).
    Remain with your vehicle unless shelter is nearby.
    Maintain your circulation by moving your body.
    Use the engine to keep warm, unless the exhaust cannot vent in which case switch off the engine.
    Ensure that airway is maintained if snowed over.

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