Mechanics are like attorneys. Most of them are professional, fair, upstanding business owners. However, a small minority give the rest of them (and in the case of attorneys, us), a very bad name. Car trouble is frustrating enough without an untrustworthy mechanic.
If a mechanic's estimate of parts and labor exceeds one hundred dollars, RCW 46.71.015 requires the mechanic to give the customer a quote in writing. This is a quote the customer may benefit from keeping because RCW 46.71.025 does not allow the mechanic to exceed that quote by more than 10%, excluding sales tax. If a mechanic intends to charge the customer more than 110% of their original quote they must obtain written or oral permission from the customer first. This includes the costs of labor and parts.
Knowing this it is always best to ask a mechanic for a quote in writing if they do not offer to produce one up front. Also, if their quote exceeds one hundred dollars and the mechanic does not offer to produce a quote in writing, it is probably best to shop around.
Eli T. Marchbanks, Partner at Navigate Law Group
Every legal issue is very unique. Accordingly, the information in this blog is intended as general education material and not as legal advice. If you think you may have a legal issue you should consult an attorney.