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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 12-15-2014, 09:35 PM   #1
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Shops not releasing "unsafe" car

According to a friend of mine, if a shop like Kal Tire or Canadian Tire deems a vehicle unsafe for the roads they can refuse to give it back to the owner until the owner has the shop repair the things considered unsafe. Supposedly the reasoning is that the shop is liable should they allow your "unsafe" vehicle to leave.

I'm pretty sure there's no way a shop can legally refuse to release the car like this since they have zero ownership of the vehicle and they aren't the RCMP. I'm also pretty sure the shop isn't liable for anything that happens to the car once it leaves their possession, so their reasoning for doing this is also b/s not based on law.

Can anyone help settle this one way or the other?
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Old 12-16-2014, 03:13 AM   #2
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Similar thing happened to a friend ...

he bought an ex-fleet car from my work. Took it in for an oil change, turns out the rear subframe and its bolts were rusted/hanging on by a thread. They told him its unsafe to operate on the road, he signed a waiver and said his mechanic would fix it -- left with his car

tl;dr

sign a waiver, retrieve car, go home.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:44 AM   #3
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sign a waiver, retrieve car, burn it on a desolate road.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:52 AM   #4
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a dealership i worked for did this, a customer had a huge side buldge in a tire and wanted it "patched" the advisor and manage said the only way they wold releease the car is if she purchased a new tire from the shop or another shop and had it mounted or a tow truck took it away.

you gotta remember what of majority of people drive cars.. usually people who dont know why and oil pump is important.. or letting their brakes wear down till its metal on metal. if these people didnt know the repercussions im willing to bet their would be alot more dangers cars/skipped services

that being said, i have never seen a shop refuse to dismiss a car because it was too hella flush, or because it had a check engine light or something common. im sure 90% of this forum would fail and inspection if we decided to go today.

i dont blame a shop for not releasing a car if its an extreme like suspension/brakes/tire failure
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:12 AM   #5
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a dealership i worked for did this, a customer had a huge side buldge in a tire and wanted it "patched" the advisor and manage said the only way they wold releease the car is if she purchased a new tire from the shop or another shop and had it mounted or a tow truck took it away.
Supposedly the options in bold weren't given, it was either pay them to fix your car or you can't have it back. Legally I'm pretty sure they can't do that, if it's really that bad call up the RCMP and have them issue a VI.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:14 AM   #6
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Sounds like a sales tactic to me.

I understand that a shop can refuse plugging a hole on the sidewall but I don't see how they can abstain a car from being released to its owner.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:21 AM   #7
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I'm sure there is an issue with the vehicle that is making it unsafe for road use. I have never seen a shop say something like that unless there truly was an issue with the vehicle.

However, the shop saying they cant have it till they fix it is bogus. Show up there with an RCMP officer and let them know the situation. They can not keep your car.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:55 AM   #8
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The only time I've seen a car not being released due to safety concerns was at this dealership I worked at - the wheel hub was literally going to fall off the car. Gave customer the option to either get it fixed or towed. He chose the latter.

All the other times when there's a safety concern like cords on the tires showing, less than 1mm brake pad left, etc, we'll write down on the work order something along the lines of "Advised customer that vehicle is unsafe to drive, declined repairs at this time"
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Old 12-16-2014, 10:04 AM   #9
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Having the owner / driver sign a waiver saying that they've declined service (for the non-road safe aspect) is not a problem -- the problem is having that car back on the road again. Would you knowingly want the car driving immediately behind you have a mal-functioning brakes that cannot stop itself?

The car doesn't need to get fixed at the shop where the car is held, but it shouldn't be allowed to be back on the road -- ie. having a tow truck take it away sounds perfectly acceptable to me if the owner doesn't want to have the vehicle fixed at the current location. Of course, this means the shop / mechanic needs to have a certain sense of work ethics and integrity, but I trust that most places would meet this requirement, esp the bigger and/or brand name shops.

For my own sake and the safety of other drivers on the road, I am glad to see shops enforcing this policy.

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Old 12-16-2014, 10:19 AM   #10
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From a legal prospective, its a HUGE liability. If that customer were to get into an accident, the blame would be immediately put onto the last person that worked on the vehicle. The shop can't legally keep the vehicle but they do need to make a note and have the customer sign off taking all responsibility off the shop/ mechanic.
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:53 PM   #11
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My problem isn't with them calling a car unsafe, it's with them refusing to release the car. If it really is a safety issue they should be contacting the RCMP, not taking matters into their own hands.

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From a legal prospective, its a HUGE liability. If that customer were to get into an accident, the blame would be immediately put onto the last person that worked on the vehicle. The shop can't legally keep the vehicle but they do need to make a note and have the customer sign off taking all responsibility off the shop/ mechanic.
Based on what? AFAIK shops have zero liability once it leaves their possession. I can understand thinking they're liable for things they worked on (ie they fail to install parts properly) but there's no way anyone could hold a shop liable for everything on the car just because they had the car in their shop.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:55 PM   #12
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There is a strange and vexxing thing in life these days called "lawsuits". It's when people who make bad choices get into trouble and sue people who didn't prevent them from doing it. People called lawyers sue them for large sums of money. You wanna bet that the owner of that defective vehicle will not blame the shop for not telling him his car was dangerous and should not be driven...specially if the shop did? In a heartbeat. Nobody today is responsible for anything they do when it hits the fan. It's always somebody else's fault.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:03 PM   #13
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Fair point, but aside from telling the RO that the vehicle is defective can they legally do anything? Seizing someones vehicle until they agree to let you do a bunch of work to it sounds illegal as hell.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:43 PM   #14
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Foxtons founder sues garage after his Lamborghini Miura SV blew up | Daily Mail Online

Example of someone suing a mechanic shop. Just tell them you'll sign a waver.
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Old 12-16-2014, 04:18 PM   #15
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In that case though he's claiming that the work the shop performed caused the fire (it also doesn't say if he won that case, being that he blames spark plugs I'm not sure what his chances are). Allowing shops to force people to get additional work done at the whim of the shop is just way too easy to abuse.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:42 AM   #16
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There is a strange and vexxing thing in life these days called "lawsuits". It's when people who make bad choices get into trouble and sue people who didn't prevent them from doing it. People called lawyers sue them for large sums of money. You wanna bet that the owner of that defective vehicle will not blame the shop for not telling him his car was dangerous and should not be driven...specially if the shop did? In a heartbeat. Nobody today is responsible for anything they do when it hits the fan. It's always somebody else's fault.
Exactly. No one is ever accountable for themselves it's much easier to put the blame on others. I've experienced first hand working at a shop and multiple angry customers coming back at us claiming "they're brakes failed after we installed a new windshield wiper for them." lol

I was taught to ALWAYS cover my own ass. Get it in writing that the brakes are metal on metal but the customer refused to replace parts.

that little signature and less than 5 minutes of your time prevents lawsuits.
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I believe cars are meant to be driven. I see zero point in having a beautiful car and never driving it. Might as well have Miranda Kerr in your bed and sleeping on the ground cause you don't want to fudge her mascara...

We go through our entire lives being told what to do every step of the way. The garage was always the one place where you could indulge in your own passion, with not a care for the outside world.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:06 AM   #17
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thats what spare tires are for
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:32 PM   #18
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Cant hold onto a car because its unsafe. I knew a guy with a Z4M that drove on a flat and ruined the tire. Kal Tire refused to let him leave with the car and the tire was a few days away so they attempted to sell him a set of 4 which he declined.

Pushed the car outside and filled it up with a tow truck and drove off until he ordered a single tire.
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:12 PM   #19
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In the tire shop if the tire is a road hazard, we can either install a new tire, install the spare tire or it's leaving on the back of a truck
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:25 PM   #20
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There is a strange and vexxing thing in life these days called "lawsuits". It's when people who make bad choices get into trouble and sue people who didn't prevent them from doing it. People called lawyers sue them for large sums of money. You wanna bet that the owner of that defective vehicle will not blame the shop for not telling him his car was dangerous and should not be driven...specially if the shop did? In a heartbeat. Nobody today is responsible for anything they do when it hits the fan. It's always somebody else's fault.
it's usually always the police's fault.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:05 PM   #21
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it's usually always the police's fault.
always the police's fault
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:04 PM   #22
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Exactly. No one is ever accountable for themselves it's much easier to put the blame on others. I've experienced first hand working at a shop and multiple angry customers coming back at us claiming "they're brakes failed after we installed a new windshield wiper for them." lol

I was taught to ALWAYS cover my own ass. Get it in writing that the brakes are metal on metal but the customer refused to replace parts.

that little signature and less than 5 minutes of your time prevents lawsuits.
Not necessarily true, 90% of the time the judge will favor in the cars owner than the shop who had a "form signed".

My instructor whos owned his own shop for more than 20 years had the same thing happened to him, wasnt a huge issue. Had customer sign saying he is aware of any issues that may happen and forgo and service 3 months later bad thing happened, sued him for a lot, won.

Also from the grape vine I heard shops can call the police as well and if they deem it not safe they can impound it?

Than again a shop can also just do it, if you dont pay they can always just put a lien on the car too, but that is also a iffy thing too
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:55 AM   #23
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Zulutango and Godzira pretty much hit the nail on the head.

It's the shop's way of covering their asses, though I personally don't agree with it, they are basically trying to make sure they don't get sued. We live in such a sue-happy society where people see lawsuits as an opportunity to refuse to take responsibility for their actions and the legal system is abused by stupid people who compensate for their idiocy by stomping all over someone's livelihood.

While I've never heard of a shop holding a car outright, I have seen shops make people sign written waivers detailing "unsafe" conditions on a car and a signed agreement by the owner to not repair it despite being notified. I agree that many shops take advantage of this and use scare tactics to part fools with their money (my GF was once told by Kal Tire that they couldn't patch a hole in the tread - not sidewall - of her tire and would need to buy a whole new one until I came by and bitched them out) but such is life.

That said, as any LEO can tell you... the average person doesn't fully know their rights, if they lack the intelligence, foresight, mental capacity or what-have-you to properly repair/maintain their car they also probably don't realize a shop has no right to "hold" your car unless you straight up didn't pay them for work done and such.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:31 AM   #24
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Also from the grape vine I heard shops can call the police as well and if they deem it not safe they can impound it?
I'd rather they do this than just seize the vehicle themselves and effectively hold it for ransom.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:36 AM   #25
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I'd rather they do this than just seize the vehicle themselves and effectively hold it for ransom.
I don't know why you're defending this so hard.
if you're stupid enough to want to drive your car when professionals are advising you NOT to..for the safety of yourself and others. then fuck it they should keep your car you clearly aren't responsible enough to be driving it.
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I believe cars are meant to be driven. I see zero point in having a beautiful car and never driving it. Might as well have Miranda Kerr in your bed and sleeping on the ground cause you don't want to fudge her mascara...

We go through our entire lives being told what to do every step of the way. The garage was always the one place where you could indulge in your own passion, with not a care for the outside world.
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