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Imagine that you go to the auto repair shop to pick up your trusty old steed after a complete engine overhaul. The bill, which you agreed to pay in advance, is $1,225. This always seemed a little steep, but the mechanic talked you into it by claiming he would do a great job and that the overhauled engine should last another 50,000 miles. At any rate, you write a check and drive out of the garage in something approaching a cheerful mood. As you head up the first hill, you start to hear a funny noise. You drive back to the garage in a sour mood. Not only are you out $1,225, but your car runs worse than it did when you brought it in.

After a bit of foot stomping, you get someone to say that they will look over the car. The next day you call the garage. Nothing has been done. You yell at the garage owner and then call your bank to stop payment on the check, but it already has been cashed. The next day the garage owner tells you the problem is in a part of the engine they didn't work on. "Give us another $500 and we can surely solve this new problem." You pick up your mechanical friend and drive it home–very slowly. You are furious and decide to pursue every legal remedy, no matter what the trouble. How do you start? First, park your car, take a shower, and maybe sleep on it for a night. Nothing gets decided well when you're mad. Then, read this chapter and decide whether you want to take action.

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