There are certain topics that every car owner should know when having their vehicle repaired. Taking your car to the repair shop isn’t generally something people are familiar with (because hopefully it doesn’t happen all that often!) But, if you are in an accident, it’s important that you know your rights as a consumer.
These consumer rights can help you ensure that your car is repaired correctly, safely, quickly, and within your budget.
You have the right to choose your own repair shop.
In most cases, when your car is in an accident, you can choose the shop you want to repair it. Ask your friends, have a quick Google, and look for local shops!
You can ask your insurance company for suggestions but if they’re telling you that you only have a few options, don’t believe them. This is called steering and in most states, it’s illegal.
You have the right to choose your repair parts.
If parts of your car need to be replaced, you can have a say in which parts are used!
Usually, you can choose from three kinds of parts: OEM, non-OEM, or recycled parts. However, depending on your insurance policy, only certain kinds of parts may be covered. (This doesn’t mean that’s your only option!) Each kind of part has unique benefits and costs so if you’re not sure, ask your repair tech or do a little research.
In many states, if a shop is going to use anything other than OEM parts, they’ll need to notify you. To be proactive, ask your repair shop before the repair.
You have the right to a safely and correctly repaired car.
When you take your vehicle to be repaired, you are paying for a service and you can rightfully expect that your vehicle will be repaired correctly and when repairs are completed, it will be returned to you in a safe condition for driving.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand how your car is repaired, what is being repaired, what is being replaced, and what to expect. You can ask about your technicians and their qualifications or experience, what they’re doing and why, and what your options are.
The first step in successful collision repair is knowing your rights. The next step is to get involved! When you’re choosing your repair shop, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A great repair shop will answer them and help you understand.