- You have the right to choose where you have your vehicle repaired.
- You have the right to an accurate written estimate.
- If you set a maximum price you are willing to pay for the repair, the final cost charged can’t be higher than that agreed amount.
- A repair shop may charge for an estimate, but they must tell you how much they will charge for it before providing one to you.
- Under the Consumer Protection Act, parts and labour have a warranty for up to 90 days or 5,000 km (whichever comes first). Repairers can also choose to offer coverage beyond that minimum warranty.
- Repair shops must have clearly displayed signs that let you know that they provide written estimates unless you choose to authorize a maximum amount, that replaced parts will be returned to you of you want them, how labour rates are calculated, if there is a charge for estimates, and if commissions are paid to staff.
In Canada, you have the legal right to choose your own repair facility. If your vehicle is damaged and can be repaired in a way that can be covered by your policy, your insurer will likely suggest a shop that they prefer to use. This is often a good idea, as insurance companies and preferred repair facilities often have established contractual arrangements regarding work standards and pricing. This is ensured by the preferred-shop program. However, most are preferred simply because they do outstanding work.
That being said, you still have the right to choose your own facility. Your insurer will still manage the claim and cover the cost of the repair if you do this, but not beyond the price quoted. By law, a repair facility cannot charge you more than 10% above the original written estimate (in the case of Alberta it is 10% or $100, whichever comes first). If additional hidden damages are uncovered, the shop can provide your insurer with a supplement. The insurer can then either approve it or not. If it’s part of the collision, and it doesn’t push the repair into a total write off, then the insuser will approve the supplement.
There are a number of things you should take into account if you decide to choose your own repair facility. You may already have personal experience with a particular facility, but your insurer is likely to have a list of preferred shops in your area. It is also a good idea to seek advice from trusted friends and relatives. Most businesses in the industry are perfectly reliable and professional, but it’s not something you’ll want to take a chance on. Finally, make sure your choice of facility agrees, in writing, to contact you for your approval before preforming any work that exceeds a set dollar amount, which should generally be the original estimate.
Remember, though you have the legal right to choose your own facility, it is not a trivial choice.