Posted on May 15, 2019 in Car Accidents, Personal Injury
If you experience a car accident in Florida, you should know the state’s laws concerning collision repair and the legal regulations facing car repair service providers. Visiting an unlicensed, uncertified, or unregistered mechanic can not only lead to subpar repairs and additional maintenance work on your vehicle, but also legal penalties or complications with your auto insurance coverage.
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act
All service providers offering vehicle repairs as a paid service to the public must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Under the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act, all service providers must register with FDACS and display their registration numbers in all marketing materials, advertisements, and clearly displayed on their premises. This requirement does not apply to businesses that perform repair work on their own vehicles or people who repair agricultural and horticultural vehicles.
If you are in need of any type of vehicle repairs in
Florida, taking some time to shop around for a mechanic is a good idea. Use
this time to find their registration numbers and check if the FDACS has filed
any complaints against them. You can also compare rates and choose the service
provider with the most agreeable estimate for the work you need.
More Florida Statutes for Car Repairs
559.905 of the Florida Statutes includes other provisions for
collision repair work that all service providers must follow. This section
provides all consumers with the right to an estimate or quote of the cost of
repairs before a mechanic begins work. For example, a driver takes a car to a
mechanic for a specific issue, but the mechanic notices other problems while
working on the car. The mechanic must notify the customer of the findings and
provide a quote for repairing those issues before doing any work on them. This
provision prevents auto repair service providers from billing customers for
repair work they did not request.
A repair shop may also offer the customer the opportunity to
select a certain total amount the customer is willing pay for repairs. For
example, a customer may waive the right to an estimate as long as repairs do
not exceed $500. Ultimately, it is best for anyone who needs repair work done
on a vehicle to obtain an estimate before agreeing to pay for service.
How to Find a Reliable Repair Center
If you need work performed on your vehicle, it is always
worth taking the time to research your available options before committing to a
service provider. The right mechanic can help solve your car problems without
worry of unnecessary fees or exorbitant labor costs. Most mechanics strive to
provide accurate estimates before every job and will notify customers if any
unforeseen issues arise or if a customer needs work beyond the initial quote.
If you visit a repair center, check to ensure the service
provider has displayed the repair center’s FDACS registration number, any
service awareness, and a Better Business Bureau rating. You should also
visually inspect the site to ensure it looks like the mechanics are disposing
of hazardous materials safely and maintaining a reasonably clean and safe work
You should request an estimate of any work you need, and
remember that no repair center has the right to force you to waive your right
to an estimate. If a repair center refuses to provide an estimate or tries to
convince you to waive your right to an estimate, it is safe to assume the
repair center is not trustworthy and not worth your time or money. If you
experience any issues with a repair center and believe any service provider has
violated the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act, you can file a claim with the
FDACS to report the violation.