Today attorney extraordinaire Steve Lehto educated us all on the scam that is car repair shops “legally” not letting you leave until you get your repairs done. Turns out there’s nothing legal about that.

But some shops are so brazenly unethical that they’ll even try to rip the cops off, says longtime commenter Chairman Kaga:

This happened to me in Texas. I took my ‘02 Focus SVT across the street from work to have my brakes checked. Seemed like one of the rotors was warped. They called me not even an hour later and said I needed a complete brake overhaul to the tune of $600. They also told me I couldn’t take the car as it was unsafe to drive. I told them I personally knew the chief of police and I’d probably be OK to drive it to another shop if I was stopped. The manager said the chief was his friend neighbor and he’d call and have him tell me I couldn’t take the car without having it fixed, and if I did he’d call and have me stopped. So I relented.

Flash forward a couple of years later and I’m talking to the police chief when I asked him if it was actually illegal, as his neighbor insisted, to drive a car to another repair shop for brake issues.

“Neighbor? He’s not my neighbor. The PD used to have a contract with his shop for contract labor on the fleet but he kept ripping us off so we dropped him. And no, it’s not.”

Oh. Damn.

As it turns out I could have fixed the rotor issue in my garage at home for less than $100.

Who rips off the police? I mean... wow. Just wow.

Congrats on your COTD win though, Kaga! May your Alfa Romeo become magically as reliable as a new Toyota Camry overnight.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.