The Colorado Motor Vehicle Repair Act (MVRA) requires that no repairs can be made to a motor vehicle unless there is written consent from the owner to allow the repairs and there must be an estimate of the repairs. Mountain View Automotive in Thornton says the MVRA mandates what many reputable repair shops have been doing for years.
The Colorado AAA website shows what is required to fulfill the statutory requirements of the MVRA.
The requirements for the estimate include total cost, date to be completed, replacement parts returned, and cost of reassembly. Except for a few circumstances, the estimate must be signed. Even if additional repairs are needed after the job started, the repair facility must get the customer’s consent, written or oral before they start the work the additional work.
If the repair shop needs to do diagnostic work before a complete estimate can be done, the shop must give the customer an estimate of the costs for the diagnosis, disassembly, reassembly, and parts. It must also show consent for whether the parts are new, used, reconditioned or rebuilt. The customer can request all parts replaced be returned to them.
If there is a change in any original completion date it must be in writing on the invoice and told to the customer within 24 hours after the original completion date is missed. If there is no notice, the contract is canceled and the reassembly is not charged to the customer.
If the work done is under a warranty given by a facility for a previous repair, then a written notice is required to state the completion date. However, it should be noted that a facility’s warranty is limited to its terms and conditions.
A copy of the invoice must be given to the customer and it must be legible. In addition, the repair facility must keep a copy of the invoice for three years.
The invoice must include, customer’s name and address, vehicle year, make, license number, odometer reading, date vehicle brought in, itemization of charges, taxes, service and handling, shop supplies and materials, part description (name and number ) and whether new or used reconditioned or rebuilt and the charge for each part, labor amount, name or number of every mechanic involved and which portion of the repairs were done by each, and service warranty information.
If a repair facility charges storage fees, the customer must sign a separate written agreement. There is no maximum allowable charge, yet the customer must agree to the amount in writing. A storage fee can’t begin until the fourth day after the customer is told that repairs have been completed. No storage fees are allowed for Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays and any days the facility is closed for business.
There are misdemeanor criminal penalties for failure to provide the written or oral estimate required or failure to give a correct and complete invoice and could result in fines. Prohibited acts include: charging for repairs without consent, charging in excess of the estimate (plus 10% or $25.00, whichever is less), misrepresenting the necessity of repairs, misrepresenting that a vehicle is in a dangerous condition, misrepresenting that repairs were done when they were not, performing unnecessary emissions repairs, failing to give appropriate notice of a charge in the completion date, and preparing incorrect work orders (without odometer readings which were available).
If a customer feels a facility broke the law, they have to send a written notice by certified mail, giving the facility ten days to settle before the customer can file suit. Just because the customer paid the bill does not mean the customer consented to the charges and they are still allowed to bring legal action as long as it is within a year from the time of written notice. They can sue in small claims court. If the court rules in the customer’s favor they can get three times the amount of the actual damages, but not less than $250 and not more than the limit of small claims court which is $5,000. Attorney’s fees can also be awarded. To get a higher amount a customer must sue in a different court.
Mountain View Automotive in Thornton explains the Colorado Motor Vehicle Repair Act (MVRA) does not apply to trucks over 8,500, farm vehicles, motorcycles, antique cars that are 25 years old and older, and collector’s items.