The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month that a repairer can put a lien on a car for work that a customer didn’t OK so long as the bill contains some of the approved work, according to the ruling and an Associated Press report.
The court ruled that a shop could put a lien for the dollar amount to which a customer agreed while the two parties argued over the other charges.
During the repair process in the Arizona case, the owner of the 1985 Jaguar asked about the total costs so far. The Phoenix shop estimated $1,800-$2,200; the actual costs were closer to $2,320 (pretax), about 5 percent higher. The final bill was a little more than $2,418.
The court found every repair the shop made had been authorized by the owner with one exception: Fixing a torn intake manifold gasket.
The court did indicate, however, that if the shop sold a vehicle on which it had a lien, it could only keep the amount to which a customer agreed. Presumably, the rest of the money would have to go back to the owner.
Though the repairs — involving an idling issue and the fuel delivery system — don’t appear to be collision-related, the ruling obviously would apply to collision repair shops in that state.