Wisconsin car repair shops must get your authorization for any repair and must offer you an estimate or firm price quote if repairs will cost $50 or more.
*No unauthorized repairs are allowed. But if you drop off your car before the shop opens with a note to repair something – and you do not ask them to call you with an estimate – the shop can charge what it wants.
*No unauthorized price increases are allowed. If a shop provided an estimated or quote, they need your permission to increase the price.
*A shop may hold your vehicle until you pay for authorized repairs. However, once you have paid for authorized repairs, the shop cannot keep your vehicle because you refused to pay for unauthorized repairs.
*When requesting additional authorization, the shop must tell you both the cost for the additional repairs and the new total cost of the complete job. Make sure you leave a telephone number where the shop can reach you.
*The shop must return replaced parts to you if you ask for them before repair begins. Warranty parts or parts exchanged for rebuilding need not be returned, but must be made available to you for inspection.
*When work is completed, the shop must provide you with an invoice describing the repairs, replaced parts (specifying if used or rebuilt), and warranties for repairs and parts.
*If you need expensive or complicated repairs, or if you have questions about their recommended repairs, consider getting a second opinion.
Shops that do only diagnostic work and do not sell parts or repairs may be able to give you an objective opinion about which repairs are necessary.
Double damages - if the vehicle repair law is violated, you may be able to start an action in small claims court. Wis. Stat. s. 100.20(5) enables consumers to recover twice the amount of any monetary damages, court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.