New Jersey auto repair shops settle allegations of ripping off consumers

Car mechanic works on autoJersey Automotive Warehouse, a chain of auto repair shops, has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the New Jersey Attorney General's office accusing the company of charging customers for work it never did.

The New Jersey Attorney General's office said that in agreeing to the settlement, Brake-O-Rama of Lodi, N.J., admits no wrongdoing or liability in the case. The company, which also does business as Jersey Automotive Warehouse, operates 13 locations in the state. The state sued last August after a series of inspections by its investigators.

Brake-O-Rama also agreed to a list of changes in its business practice, including not advertising repair services that its locations lacked the necessary equipment or licenses to perform such as wheel alignments, transmission flushes and state inspections. The company also agreed to give customers written estimates or get written or verbal approval to proceed with repairs.

New Jersey acting Consumer Affairs Director Sharon Joyce said in a statement that the business practices listed in the settlement would "ensure that consumers get the services that they pay for" from the shops.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests understanding the basics of how a vehicle works as a way to safeguard against getting taken for a ride on auto repairs. Take the time to shop around for the best prices, get recommendations and check out the repair shops with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the shops.

Aol Autos offers a guide on how to pick a mechanic and what questions to ask them to help you choose.
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