Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/Auto Repair


I am 74 years old, retired and on a fixed income...
I took my car into a repair facility for the 3 month/3000 mile oil & filter change.
While I was there and speaking to the very cordial and friendly man behind the counter, I mentioned that my car had some problems which might need attention later.
When I returned to pick up my car he told me it was not necessary to pay now - and he would just add it on to my final bill when I brought it back for the repairs. Unfortunately I agreed to do that. I requested a price and a breakdown and soon I was told "approx $1600.00 more or less" which would probable include a "timing" belt - which had never been replaced before.
(This on top of another belt that he told me I needed, and several other expensive repair items as well).
I had left a list of some problems that would need to be looked at. And now I get a phone call advising me I owed $278.
When I asked "for an oil & filter job"? - I was told YES, PLUS the "diagnostics", even though I was the one who had told him what I might need!!!
Am I legally required to pay - or is there a way out? The oil&filter was $40...

Thanks, Kevin

Hi Kevin,

Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.

Your issue is one of an implied contract.  The reason why most folks generally write down their contracts is so that the terms can be mutually understood with clarity.  In your circumstance, it appears that the parties agreed to exchange some payment for some auto repairs, and it is difficult to discern what any of the particulars are or would be considered by a judge.  

Arguably, your opponent can deliver some evidence that they did the oil & filter job and the diagnostic work, and that they can probably point to some evidence that they post their prices somewhere in the store.  This evidence would support their position that there was an agreement to do that work, and to pay a certain amount of money for it.  If your testimony and/or other evidence supports a different fact pattern or simply shows no mutual meeting of minds it is possible that a judge may see things your way, and perhaps issue an order based on quantum meruit and order you to pay an amount that is fair.

When you speak to your attorney, I suggest that you explore that idea of either paying the $280 under protest to get your car back without waiving your claim.  Also, consider an attempt to settle with the facility for what you can agree is reasonable.  Take care that you make proper action soon, or it is likely the facility will begin to add storage charges to your list of woes.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law  

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Morgan Smith


Civil litigation (contract claims, landlord-tenant actions, forfeiture suits, residential construction defect matters), Family law (divorce, custody modifications, child support modifications, and pre-nuptial agreement), new business start-ups, civil forfeiture, asset forfeiture. Please do not submit your question as Private. It is my policy not to answer Private questions from members of the public here on AllExperts; I reserve that function to my private clients. Although AllExperts permits me to change your questions from Private to Public, it is my policy not to do that. I encourage you to resubmit your question as a public question. Your public question has the potential to help others with similar concerns. I suggest that you use a pretend name and otherwise alter sensitive facts that make you inclined to treat your question as Private, and submit your question to me Publicly.


I've been practicing law in the State of Minnesota since 1995. I've worked in skyscraper firms, and now my own small firm in Minneapolis. Past answers from my earlier participation on AllExperts is posted at:

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