Austin Auto Repair Negligence Attorney

When you take your car to the shop for maintenance, you expect that mechanics are going to do the work you pay them to do and ensure your car is safe to drive. But some mechanics don’t care about the quality of their work – even worse, some simply lie to customers, saying they’ve performed the requested repair when they haven’t.

In 2014, a Cedar Park auto shop owner was facing felony charges for several illegal business practices, including painting worn car parts black so they looked new, instead of replacing them. One driver told KXAN news that a day after getting new tires at the shop, one of her tires exploded while driving, and her regular mechanic said the tires on her car had not been balanced, as they should have been upon installation.

Negligent mechanics and auto shops endanger their customers, as well as other drivers on the road who may be injured in a crash with a poorly repaired vehicle. If you were injured in a crash, and you suspect mechanical negligence or error may be to blame, call The Evans Law Firm to request a free consultation: 1-855-414-1012.

Deceiving Customers

According to the Texas attorney general’s office, under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal for mechanics and auto shops to:

  • Knowingly make a false or misleading statement about the need for parts, replacement, or repair service
  • Falsely state that work has been done or parts were replaced
  • Represent parts as original or new, when in fact they are second-hand or refurbished
  • Advertise goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised.

The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing the federal law that prohibits car dealers from false advertising. In August 2016, it fined a Dallas-area Kia dealership’s three locations $85,000 for deceptive advertising practices about the true cost of buying a vehicle.

Unknown Histories

One of the most dangerous types of deception that’s been an ongoing problem in Texas is the “title-washing” of used cars. That means that a car previously declared a total loss by an insurance company is refurbished and illegally titled, so a buyer is unaware of the car’s history.

But when water has infiltrated electronics, rust and corrosion can cause important components – like air bags – to malfunction, years after the flood damage occurred.

Some vehicles that have reappeared on used car lots in recent years were declared a total loss due to flood damage. According to Consumer Reports, when a car has been immersed in water, the damage may not be visible.

In 2011, a Texas car dealer was convicted for an elaborate title-washing scheme wherein he and his collaborators obtained 613 fraudulent titles in order to sell salvaged vehicles to consumers. It’s unknown whether any of those defective vehicles crashed due to mechanical problems.

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles advises people to run a background check on any vehicle they’re considering buying, to ensure it has never been declared a total loss. But some criminals are so adept at title-washing, a search of a vehicle identification number may not reveal a car’s true history.

Carfax recommends used car buyers look carefully for common signs of flood damage, including:

  • A musty odor
  • Mud or silt in the glove box, under seats, or in the trunk
  • Rust on the pedals, or around door edges
  • Stained upholstery or carpeting, brand new upholstery or carpeting, or sections that are mismatched (from being replaced).

Ideally, if you’re buying a used car, you should take it to another shop or mechanic for an inspection before you agree to buy it.

Help for Injured Consumers

Most mechanics take their jobs seriously and understand that when they make a mistake, they could be putting a driver at risk for a serious crash. But some mechanics and car dealerships have no problem taking money from people and letting them drive home in a dangerous vehicle.

It’s extremely rare for brakes to fail without warning or for a tire to fall off while the car is in motion. But a missing or faulty part can cause sudden catastrophic failures of automotive systems and components.

If you were injured in a crash and believe the cause was a defect that a mechanic should have seen, repaired, or told you about, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Request your no-obligation consultation today, through our online form, or by calling The Evans Law Firm at 1-855-414-1012.