Mechanic Charging More Than Quoted Amount for Car Repair

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10 July 2014
We got our car serviced recently and the mechanic said, "your head gasket needs replacing, so come back when you have the money for that." We asked how much, and he said "you're looking at about $1,500."

Okay, so we saved up the money and put it in to be done. He said 3 days - a week, but it took nearly 2 weeks. Annoying, but that's not the issue though. When my husband picked up the car the invoice was $3,200. We were obviously shocked that it said more than double what he verbally quoted, and when we questioned it he said that "he should've explained himself better". Apparently, he quoted the price for the head gasket itself, and not the 22 hours of labor or the other parts that apparently needed to be replaced when replacing a head gasket. I want to pay half and tell him to shove the rest. Just wondering where we stand legally under Australian Consumer Law?


Well-Known Member
11 July 2014
Hello ChantelleW

In 2013 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) published guidelines on how the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL) applies in relation to vehicle sales and repairs. You can download the guidelines from this webpage:

In the first instance you may wish to look over this guide, including in particular the wording on page 14 under the heading 'Component Pricing.' You may then wish to contact your State government department of fair trading and the ACCC for clarification, though their advice is likely to be only general in nature. To make a general enquiry with ACCC, you can call the ACCC Infocentre: 1300 302 502.

You may then wish to remind your mechanic that he or she has obligations under the ACL including in relation to the initial verbal representation, express your point of view about what you believe you are required to pay under those laws, and ask for the invoice price to be revised accordingly. Depending on the outcome of that conversation, as a consumer you can lodge a complaint through the ACCC in accordance with their straightforward consumer complaint processes. The ACCC has the power to impose significant fines on businesses which breach the ACL.

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