February 2007                      By Attorney General Tom Miller



Take the Scare Out of Auto Repair!


            Car-repair complaints always rank high in Iowa, even though most repair shops treat customers fairly.  The most common complaints are that a repair shop charged more than the estimate, or that the shop did work the customer had not authorized.  Today's cars are computerized and complex machines, so doing our own diagnosis and repair is out of the question for most of us.  Here are some things consumers can do to reassure themselves -- and protect themselves against being cheated in auto repairs.


            The most important step is to find the right repair shop and technician:






            Know your rights under Iowa's Motor Vehicle Service Trade Practices Act.  These rights can help consumers avoid higher-than-expected repair charges:





            Disputes may come up even if you follow these tips.  Try to resolve your problem directly with the repair shop.  You will have a much better chance of success if you document your complaint, so keep copies of all estimates and invoices.


            For more information, or to file a complaint, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Building, Des Moines, IA 50319.  Call 515-281-5926, or toll-free at 888-777-4590.  The e-mail address is   On the Web:


Consumer Protection Division   Hoover Building   Des Moines, Iowa 50319   515/281-5926