Those who own cars in California or any other state shouldn't be surprised if their vehicles need repairs at some point. However, consumers do have rights as it relates to how and where these repairs can be made. Generally speaking, mechanics are not allowed to do any work that was not authorized by the car's owner ahead of time. Furthermore, making the wrong type of repair may constitute an unauthorized repair under state law.
If a mechanic has already made a repair that was authorized by the car's owner, that person is entitled to payment. Failing to pay for services rendered could result in a mechanic's lien being placed on the car. This could occur regardless of how much the service bill was or what was being done to the vehicle. If a lien is placed on the vehicle, it could be sold to recoup the balance owed.
In the event that work was not done properly, a consumer may be able to ask that the job be done again at no charge whether the vehicle was repaired at a dealer service center or at a local garage. If the work is not done to a customer's satisfaction, he or she might file a lawsuit or take other legal action.
Vehicles that spend significant time in the repair shop may qualify as a lemon. In some cases, one attempt to repair a problem is enough for a vehicle to qualify under the law. The lemon law may allow an individual to demand that a manufacturer either provide a replacement vehicle or refund money already spent on the defective product. An attorney may be able to help a vehicle owner obtain compensation or other relief either in court or through talks with the manufacturer.