Are vehicle service departments required to post their hourly rates?

Dear Consumer Ed:

Are vehicle dealerships required to publicly post in their service departments their hourly repair rates?

Consumer Ed says:

While some states have statutes regulating auto repairs, there is no statute in Georgia that requires dealers to publicly post their hourly repair rates. However, if there is any sort of misleading information given to you in regard to the repair rates, it may still be a violation of the Fair Business Practices Act as an unfair trade practice.

As a consumer, you should always ask for an estimated repair rate upfront, before agreeing to the service. Dealerships, more often than not, will be willing to give you this estimate. Make sure that the estimate is written and includes the condition to be repaired, the parts needed, and the anticipated labor rate. It should also state that the repair shop will contact you for approval before they do any work exceeding the specified amount of time or money. Make sure to get this written estimate signed.

Making low-price estimates and then proceeding with higher cost repairs without the consumer’s permission is considered by law to be a deceptive act. If you need expensive or complicated repairs, or if you have questions about recommended work, consider getting a second opinion. If the repair cost ends up being substantially different than the estimated cost, you may file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division at 404-651-8600 or by visiting consumer.ga.gov.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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