The wording on the subject needs work, but hopefully you got the idea if you are reading this. I’m wondering if auto repair shops in Minnesota have any legal means to declare a vehicle unsafe for driving and refuse to let the owner drive it away?
To give you some back story, about a year and a half ago a female friend of mine in Minneapolis went to get new tires on her car. She had wanted to purchase two snow tires for the front for the upcoming winter. The auto shop (a Sears) took the car in to replace the tires and then told her that her rear tires were unsafe and that they wouldn’t let her leave with it until she replaced all four tires. She replaced the tires.
Fast forward to yesterday, the same friend took her car to a Nissan dealership to have a clunk in the front end diagnosed. They informed her that she had a broken spring on a strut and that they would have to replace both front struts for about $1200. They told her that they could legally keep her from driving away with her car, but that she could call a tow truck. She again agreed to have them do the work.
To me both places are using scare tactics to gain work. In the case of the tires, the thread depth was fine on the rear tires. I had checked them with a depth gauge only a week prior. In the case of the struts, I agree that the spring needs to be replaced, but I disagree about it needing to be done on the spot. So, did the shop actually have legal basis to hold her car?
Doing some searches with Google, I’ve found mention that Sears was either sued or had a class action suit against them in the past for that practice. I did not find specific mention of Minnesota. I did find mention that New York state used to have such a law, but removed it due to abuse and fraud from the repair shops. I’ve read through the Minnesota Attorney General’s site. They have a quite a bit of content regarding purchasing and repairing cars, but I could find no mention of a repair shop having the right to hold a car.
Was my friend a victim of scare tactics like I suspect?