Minnesota Car Laws

Truth in Repairs Act

Your Rights When Your Car Is Repaired

Minnesota’s Truth in Repairs Act (Minn. Stat. §§ 325F.56–325F.66) spells out the rights and obligations of repair shops and their customers for repairs that cost more than $100 and less than $7,500. Know your rights before you take your car in for repairs:

Resolving Repair Disputes

Billing, the quality of repairs, and warranties can all lead to disputes. Don’t let it be “my word against yours.” Keep all written estimates and bills. Car repair shops should give you more than a bill with the repair cost when repairs are complete. They should give you a complete breakdown of the repair work, including the cost of each part, labor charges, and the vehicle’s odometer reading when the vehicle entered the shop and when the repair was completed. Save this invoice in case you have any problems. Write down your experiences along with dates and names of the people with whom you dealt.

If you have a dispute over a repair or charge, try to settle the problem with the shop manager or owner first. Some businesses have special programs for handling disputes. If this doesn’t work, you may want to seek help from the Attorney General’s Office. There also may be a low-cost alternative dispute resolution program available in your community. In addition, you may want to consider filing a claim in small claims court (also called conciliation court), where you don’t need a lawyer to represent you.

For additional information about small claims/conciliation court, see Conciliation Court: A User's Guide to Small Claims Court, published by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

Salvaged Cars

Oftentimes buyers are not aware that they are buying a rebuilt or salvaged car. Minnesota law requires car dealers to tell buyers if the car they’re interested in buying has been branded as salvaged or rebuilt. The law requires that the title documents for salvaged cars receive a “brand,” or a permanent written disclosure about a  vehicle’s prior salvage history. Don’t be fooled by a freshly painted car.

For additional information on buying, leasing, and owning a car see The Car Handbook published by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.