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§3.02 Vehicle Repairs—Customer Protections

Lesson 3:
Vehicle Repairs, Sales, & Leases

The Automotive Repair Act requires the following steps to protect automotive repair customers:

  • Registration: All auto repair dealers must register with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repairs. [B&PC §9884.] Failure to register is unlawful [B&PC §9884.6] and bars the dealer from filing an action on a contract for work done or a lien for labor and materials. [B&PC §9884.16.]
  • Estimates: The dealer must give a written estimated price for labor and parts and receive the consumer’s written or oral authorization before proceeding. No charge can be collected for unauthorized work or parts. [B&PC §9884.9(a).] If the work will exceed the estimate, an additional written, oral, fax, or e-mail authorization must be received before the work is done. If the authorization is oral, the dealer must properly note it on the work order and in an acknowledgment of notice and consent signed by the customer. [B&PC §9884.9(a).]
  • Parts: In the itemized estimate for parts and labor, the dealer must identify whether the part is new or used, as well as whether the crash part is an original or nonoriginal aftermarket equipment manufacturer crash part when the dealer performs repairs. [B&PC §9884.9(c).]
  • Work performed by others: The dealer must notify the customer in the written estimate of any repair work that will be done by someone other than the dealer or the dealer’s employees. Such work cannot be done without the customer’s consent, unless the customer cannot be reasonably notified. [B&PC §9884.9(b).]
  • Invoice: All work done, including all warranty work, must be recorded on an invoice separately describing service work and parts supplied and the amounts charged for them. [B&PC §9884.8.] If the dealer installs used, rebuilt, or reconditioned parts, the invoice must clearly state that fact, as well as whether any crash parts are original or nonoriginal aftermarket equipment. [B&PC §9884.8.]
  • Return parts: On the customer’s request at the time the work order is taken, the dealer must, with certain specified exceptions, return replaced parts to the customer when the work is completed. [B&PC §9884.10.]
  • Misrepresentations: Statements that are untrue or misleading, or that the dealer, in the exercise of reasonable care, should know are untrue or misleading, are prohibited (and may be grounds for suspending, revoking, or placing on probation the registration). [B&PC §9884.7(a)(1).]
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