How to file a complaint against a mechanic in New York

Camila Lopez - New York - August 29, 2022

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Having troubles with a mechanic or repair shop in New York with no end in sight for these frustrations? Well, there’s no need to worry, as the New York Department of Motor Vehicles has streamlined the process in order to help resolve complaints and issues as efficiently as possible. 

It’s always best to try and resolve the issue first on your own, but if diplomacy fails, there are 2 powerful options that can help you.

  • File a complaint with the Department of Motor Vehicles of New York (DMV)

  • File a small claims court lawsuit

Common Reasons and Requirements for Filing a Mechanic Complaint

Common Reasons for filing an auto repair complaint

There can be quite a few reasons you might have a complaint against a mechanic or auto repair shop. It’s also worth noting that the DMV oversees more businesses than just car or motorcycle repair shops. They are also responsible for overseeing mobile car crushers, itinerant car collectors, vehicle dismantlers, inspection statements, and salvage pools. With all this in mind, common reasons to file a complaint include:

  • Being overcharged for a service or replacement parts

  • Receiving a false estimate for a work

  • Getting faulty repairs or a service that was not up to what was promised

All these reasons and more can be addressed by learning how to file a complaint against a mechanic.

What requirements are there?

The main requirements for filing a complaint are:

  • A complaint cannot be filed anonymously

  • The complaint cannot take place 90 days or 3000 miles driven after the repair

  • You must first try to resolve the complaint by yourself

To file the complaint, any evidence such as invoices, estimates, canceled checks, receipts, warranties, guarantees, and contracts involved are not required but are very helpful to include.

Information about the service provider is also very helpful, such as the mechanic’s name, or who you spoke to to try and resolve the complaint. While attempting to resolve the issue, keep notes of when and with whom you spoke.

On top of that, it’s worth looking for the official State of New York DMV certificate that auto businesses should have posted outside of their business (you are looking for a white and green license plate). This could let you know if the place you went to is officially registered under the DMV.

How to File a Complaint with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles

If you were able to resolve the issue with the mechanic yourself, congrats! Otherwise, keep reading to learn how to file a complaint with the DMV. 

By this point you should have gathered all the information needed to help you fill out the complaint report of the New York DMV. Once filled out, you have 2 options for how to submit the completed form.

The first option is to print and mail the form to the Bureau of Consumer & Facility Services.

Print and mail:

  1. Print the complaint report

  2. Mail the completed form to:

BUREAU OF CONSUMER & FACILITY SERVICES
PO BOX 2700-ESP
ALBANY NY 12220-0700

Phone number: (518) 474-8943

Fax: (518) 486-4102

Or, your second choice is to email the form.

Email:

Complete the complaint form digitally and then email to:

CSR@dmv.ny.gov

What to Expect Following Submission of your DMV complaint

After your complaint is submitted, a Customer Services Representative (CSR) will be assigned to your problem. Luckily, about half of all complaints submitted to the DMV are solved at this step.

If the CSR’s attempt fails, the complaint will be taken to an Automotive Facilities Inspector for an investigation. If the business is found at fault, the DMV could send a warning letter to them and potentially schedule a hearing.

Throughout the process of the investigation and hearing, the DMV may fine the business or in extreme cases, revoke their license. At a hearing, the business can be asked to pay you money for the damages. The payment cannot be more than the amount that you are owed for the overcharge, faulty repairs or service. By returning this money to you, the business may lower their fine or penalty.

All this, from the day the complaint is filed to when it’s resolved, can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple of months.

What to do if no agreement is reached after a DMV complaint? You may want to try suing in a New York Small Claims Court.

Chief Legal Architect & Co-Founder @ People Clerk. Camila is an attorney, consumer advocate, and certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

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