Consumer information

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If you are looking for a car repair, you may want to call around first, to see if you can get a free estimate on the cost of the repair from a car shop. If your car is less than 25 years old, the cost of the repair should not exceed the estimate by more than ten percent. Keep in mind that repair shops are allowed to charge a reasonable fee for preparation of the estimate. The shop must offer to return any replaced parts to you unless the supplier is required to ship the parts to the manufacturer or distributor under a warranty agreement or for some other reason. Finally, except for work advertised on a single-price basis, auto repair shops must provide the customer a written invoice clearly indicating the charges for parts and labor and also indicating which parts are used, rebuilt, or reconditioned.


The Federal Trade Commission has required each of the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to provide consumers with free credit reports every twelve months and has also required them to create a single website where consumers can request the reports online. It is a good idea to check periodically your credit report for unexpected data or mistakes. You should also check it two or three months before applying for a car or home loan. You might find reports of unpaid bills that aren’t true, or you might discover that someone has stolen your identity and applied for credit under your name.

You’re also entitled to a free report anytime you are denied credit, employment, or insurance based on the contents of your credit report. The company that denied your application will inform you if the denial was based on a credit report. In that case, you must contact the credit bureau directly. You should always check your credit report in such a situation to make sure the report is accurate.   The denial of credit might have been based on wrong information.

If you do find wrong or outdated information on your credit report, inform the credit bureau. They will contact the creditor and try to verify whether their information is correct or not. If not, they must fix the report.

In 2008, Virginia joined a long list of states that allow consumers to put a security freeze on their credit reports. With certain limitations Virginia consumers can prevent credit bureaus from releasing any information in their credit reports to third parties. This is a useful tool in preventing ID theft. If you freeze access to your credit report, an ID thief will have a hard time opening credit accounts in your name because the creditor will have a hard time getting your credit report. Note that freezing access to your credit report can also make it more difficult for legitimate creditors to get your credit report.


Blacksburg is a small town and most private parking places have various restrictions and/or come with some type of parking permit. If you park somewhere where parking is prohibited, or a permit is required but you do not have one (or have one that is no longer valid), you risk that your vehicle will be towed by a towing company. This is especially true for residential complexes, where landlords will usually contract with a private towing company to frequently patrol the parking lot of the residential complex and tow illegally parked vehicles. To release your vehicle from the towing company, the vehicle owner must pay the towing and storage charges imposed by the towing company. If you cannot find your vehicle where you left it, and you are afraid it may have been towed, you can call Blacksburg Police Department at 540-961-1150, and they will be able to tell you if your vehicle has been reported as towed by a private towing company. The towing charges are established by state law, in Title 46.2 of the Virginia Code, Chapter 12, Sections 46.2-1231 and 46.2-1233.1. In addition, the Blacksburg Code of Ordinances, in Sections 12-416 to 12-425 provides more detailed regulations on the towing operations, charges, etc.


If you’re a VT student, make an appointment to see the SLS Attorney.