Irene, living only on Social Security, took her car to a repair shop because the sensor lights kept coming on and the car would shudder when she drove it. Due to her limited resources, she asked the repair shop to call her with an estimate before making any repairs. According to Irene, the agreement was to pay $100 to check the car and wait for her approval to repair the vehicle.
Irene didn’t hear back from the repair shop for two days, so she contacted them. They informed her the repairs were completed. She had not been given the opportunity to have an estimate or consent to the repairs as requested. The repair shop demanded payment of $621.89 to release the vehicle. With the financial assistance of family members, Irene was able to retrieve her car.
Irene immediately noticed her car still had the same issues, and a different auto repair shop confirmed that the original shop did nothing to address them. Irene returned to the first repair shop, but the owner would not talk to her. The mechanic said he “just repaired what the owner told him to do.” She couldn’t get any other answers from the shop and had no money to repair her vehicle.
Irene contacted Legal Aid, and they assigned her case to the Volunteer Attorney Project. A volunteer attorney agreed to take her case and sent a demand letter to the repair shop, and he received no response. He then filed a suit for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation by omission, and violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. Ultimately, the VAP attorney obtained a full refund for Irene.