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Did He Kiss Her?

Q. I just had my car in for a replacement radiator. When I went to pick it up, the mechanic said the car wouldn't start. He said it was the alternator, but I had no problems with the car starting and just had the alternator repaired 1½ years ago. Can this just be a loose connection? Any information you could pass on to me would be greatly appreciated.


A. It sounds kind of odd to me that the alternator decided to go bad while it was in his shop. First of all, he can not simply install a new alternator without your permission. If he does, by law, you are not obligated to pay for it. I worked in a Nissan dealership and we had a 280ZX come in for service. It needed a new turbocharger and we called the customer with the estimate for replacement. He was out of the country but his wife gave us permission to the repair. When he returned to pick up the car, he was shocked at the bill ($1800.00) and said he did not authorize the work. We showed him the documentation where his wife gave permission, but the court ruled (he did sue) that the car did not belong to her so she could not authorize the work. Therefore he was not obligated to pay the bill.

While the vast majority of shops are run by honest, hard working mechanics, there is the occasional bad apple. I would check the local BBB and see if he's had any complaints before this. And you might want to consider getting some legal advice on the situation.

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