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What You Should Know About Auto Repair Shops


On March 2, 2009, According to DC Licensing Law 47-2851, all mechanics in the District of Columbia must be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and licensed to do business in DC. DC law requires auto repair shops to post their licenses and Certificates of Occupancy in highly visible areas.

List of DC Licensed Auto Repair Shops (PDF)


Estimates

Get a written estimate before the shop performs any work. The written estimate prohibits the repair shop from changing the price it quotes for the work. (Find out ahead of time if you will be charged for the estimate. After you get an estimate, you may want to go to another shop for a second opinion.)

Any estimate you get should give the following information:

  • List of the work to be done;
  • Estimated completion date/time; and
  • Estimate for the price of labor and parts. It is a good idea to find out whether you will be charged a "book" (flat) fee or an hourly rate (only for the actual hours worked).
  • Guarantees

    Many shops guarantee some of their repairs. If the shop offers a guarantee, make sure you get it in writing, with the following:
  • Name and address of the repair shop or company making the guarantee;
  • What the repair shop or company agrees to do (for instance, repair or replace the failed part or refund your money);
  • What you must do to have the guarantee honored (for instance, return the car to the shop or pay a service charge);
  • Effective time period of the guarantee (for example, 90 days from the repair date);
  • Items that are covered or not covered; and
  • Whether the guarantee is prorated (adjusted for time or mileage).


    If You Have a Problem

    If you are not satisfied with the repairs, speak directly with the service manager. Keep these tips in mind:
  • Know your rights. See Title XVI of DC Municipal Regulations (DCMR) and DC Licensing Law 47-2851 for information about the laws governing auto repair shops in DC.
  • Be courteous and calm.
  • Explain the problem accurately, and tell the manager what you think would be a fair settlement.
  • If you are willing to negotiate, say so. In many disputes, neither party is 100 percent right.
  • If the problem cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, tell the manager you plan to file a complaint.

    How to File a Complaint About an Auto Repair Shop

    If you receive complaints or know of any District resident who has been harmed by any of the illegal activities set forth above, please submit your complaints or call our Consumer Protection Hotlines to report anonymously.

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (202) 442-4615
Office of the Attorney General (202) 442-9828