Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act: Your Mechanic’s Legal Obligations Under Michigan Law

car troubles

Mechanical problems are something that nobody wants to deal with, especially if you do not have a trustworthy go-to mechanic to assist with your repairs. Michigan provides consumers with several protections with which a mechanic and repair shop must comply, while imposing civil and criminal liability for failing to comply.

While a consumer may have other causes of actions, such as breach of contract or fraudulent misrepresentation, there may also be viable claims under the Michigan Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act (MVSRA), MCL 25701301, et al.

The MVSRA prohibits a motor vehicle repair facility, including its owner and employees, from doing any of the following:

  • Performing unnecessary repairs without informing the customer and obtaining permission;
  • Representing that unnecessary repairs are actually necessary;
  • Performing and charging for unauthorized repairs;
  • Failing to perform promised repairs within an agreed upon or reasonable time, unless caused by something outside of the knowledge or control of the repair facility;
  • Representing that a replacement part is new when it is actually used or rebuilt, or failing to disclose in writing that a part is used or rebuilt; and
  • If the customer paid for a requested diagnosis, failing to disclose a vehicle diagnosis, the recommended remedy, and any test or other procedure used to diagnose the vehicle.

As to quotes and charges, the MVSRA prohibits a motor vehicle repair facility from:

  • Failing to give a written estimate before beginning work on a vehicle;
  • Failing to give an estimate for the diagnosis of a vehicle;
  • Charging for additional labor or parts above the estimated price without the customer’s consent;
  • Charging for repairs that were not actually performed;

The MVSRA also prohibits conduct related to the advertisement and representation of specific parts, prices, and labor, as well as failing to honor any applicable warranty.

As mentioned, the MVSRA allows for both civil and criminal liability for violations, as well as joint and several liabilities between the repair facility and any person who controls the facility. If your mechanic or repair facility violated a provision of the act, you may recover double the damages, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.

Lastly, the MVSRA prohibits a repair facility from taking certain actions against a customer if the repair facility violated the MVSRA. If there is a violation of this act, the repair facility is barred from bringing an action to collect for work performed or parts provided. Additionally, a repair facility that violated the act cannot assert a mechanic’s, garageman’s or similar lien on a vehicle, including repossessing a motor vehicle.