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Obligations Of Repair Shops And Dealers To Provide Consumers With Written Repair Orders And Invoices

It is of upmost importance for consumers, owners or lessees of vehicles and automobiles, to obtain and keep complete copies of all repair orders and invoices for their car, truck or motorcycle so as to show all repair attempts and product defects in a Lemon Law Proceeding or action for breach of contract or warranty. These documents are helpful to the owner’s or lessee’s attorney when initially evaluating the claims as well as later proving the case at arbitration or trial or to encourage a settlement by the manufacturer or dealer. The invoices or repair orders, or the lack thereof, can make or break a case and are very important to both sides in controversies involving warranty, product defect or lemon law claims.

Unscrupulous dealers or repair shops may fail or refuse to give the consumer a copy of the repair orders or invoices knowing that those documents may be necessary to prove a claim against them for a lemon or defective vehicle or automobile. Other times the owner or lessee may have lost the documents and need to obtain duplicate copies from the repair shop or dealer service center. An honest shop will gladly provide same upon request and it may well be a red flag of dishonesty or concealing of evidence when the automobile dealer or its repair shop fails or refuses to provide these necessary and important documents to the consumer.

In the event of any missing documents, the consumer should request complete copies of all repair orders or invoices (ROs) and print out of the service history of the vehicle. The ROs are much more detailed and helpful than the service history, which is often a running summary of all repairs and service visits for the vehicle.  These documents are also helpful to obtain and review before purchasing a used vehicle to determine whether or not it has been plagued with repairs, product defects or has been involved in accidents or perhaps neglected or abused. For example, it is important to find whether or not the vehicle has been routinely and properly maintained at the intervals specified in the owner’s manual for oil changes, tune ups, timing belts, fluid changes, etc. Sometimes it is more important to note what has not been said or omitted, such as infrequent servicing or long periods in between oil changes, etc., then what is mentioned about other repairs. This careful analysis may both serve diligent buyer in determining whether or not to purchase the vehicle or could even be used against the consumer by the manufacturer in claiming a failure to properly maintain the vehicle and change the fluids at required mileage and / or time intervals, thus voiding the warranty.

Often times consumers feel helpless when they do not have all or any of the repair orders or invoices concerning the vehicle and are frustrated when the dealer or seller fails or refuses to provide the requested copies.  That does not prevent the consumer from bringing a claim or lawsuit during which such and other documents can be formerly requested by written document demands pursuant to Article 31 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules of the State of New York in a lawsuit or in arbitration pursuant to Section 300.9 of the New York Lemon Law Arbitration Regulations. In addition to such disclosure requirements of the used car dealer or new car manufacturer, Part 82.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles for the State of New York imposes obligations of repair shops to provide the consumer with written work orders and invoices for each and every repair, and the failure to do may result in civil penalties and restitution following consumer complaints under Parts 82.6 and 82.10 of said Regulations in New York State. COMPLAINT FORMS (VS-35) can be obtained from the DMV website at

This, like all my other blogs contained on my website, are for illustrative purposes and suggestions and are not an exhaustive discussion of the rights of consumers, obligations of repair shops and dealers, nor of all the claims and remedies that may apply in each unique and individual case. The reader is therefore urged to promptly consult with counsel and welcome to call my office with specific questions and to discuss particular concerns. I hope that this information is helpful to consumers in obtaining the documents and information necessary for their claims to which they are entitled as a matter of law.