SB 225 - Motor Vehicle Repair Act - provide

First Reader Summary

A bill to amend Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to selling and other trade practices, so as to provide for certain consumer protections on motor vehicle repair transactions; to provide for a short title; to provide for applicability; to provide for definitions; to provide for motor vehicle repair shop registration; to provide for a detailed, written estimate of repairs.

James, Donzella (35th)
Status Summary HC: SC: CAFF LA: 02/06/97 S - Read 1st time
Page Numbers - 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 13/ 14/ 15/ 16/ 17/ 18
Code Sections - 10-1-900/ 10-1-901/ 10-1-902/ 10-1-903/ 10-1-904/ 10-1-905/ 10-1-906/ 10-1-907/ 10-1-908/ 10-1-909/ 10-1-910/ 10-1-911/ 10-1-912/ 10-1-913/ 10-1-914/ 10-1-915
Senate Action House
2/6/97 Read 1st time

SB 225 97                                          LC 19 3348 
      SENATE BILL 225 
      By:  Senator James of the 35th 
                        A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 
                               AN ACT 
  1- 1  To amend Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of 
  1- 2  Georgia Annotated, relating to selling and other trade 
  1- 3  practices, so as to provide for certain consumer protections 
  1- 4  on motor vehicle repair transactions; to provide for a short 
  1- 5  title; to provide for applicability; to provide for 
  1- 6  definitions; to provide for motor vehicle repair shop 
  1- 7  registration; to provide for a detailed, written estimate of 
  1- 8  repairs; to provide for disclosure statements; to provide 
  1- 9  for notice of charges in excess of estimate; to prohibit 
  1-10  certain acts; to provide for inspection rights; to provide 
  1-11  for an invoice for all repairs; to provide for the retention 
  1-12  of repair records; to provide for certain signs and 
  1-13  notifications to customers; to provide for the posting of a 
  1-14  bond to release a mechanic's lien; to provide for actions on 
  1-15  such bonds; to prohibit enforcement of liens; to provide for 
  1-16  unlawful acts and practices; to provide for remedies; to 
  1-17  provide for motor vehicle repair training; to create the 
  1-18  Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council; to provide for 
  1-19  related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal 
  1-20  conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 
  1-22                           SECTION 1. 
  1-23  Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia 
  1-24  Annotated, relating to selling and other trade practices, is 
  1-25  amended by adding a new Article 34 to read as follows: 
  1-26    10-1-900. 
  1-27    This article shall be known and may be cited as the 
  1-28    'Georgia Motor Vehicle Repair Act.' 
  1-29    10-1-901. 
  1-30    This article shall apply to all motor vehicle repair shops 
  1-31    in this state, except: 
  2- 1      (1) Any motor vehicle repair shop of a municipal, 
  2- 2      county, state, or federal government when carrying out 
  2- 3      the functions of that government; 
  2- 4      (2) Any person who engages solely in the repair of: 
  2- 5        (A) Motor vehicles that are owned, maintained, and 
  2- 6        operated exclusively by such person for that person's 
  2- 7        own use; or 
  2- 8        (B) Vehicles operated for hire which are rented for 
  2- 9        periods of 30 days or less; 
  2-10      (3) Any person who repairs only motor vehicles which are 
  2-11      operated principally for agricultural or horticultural 
  2-12      pursuits on farms, groves, or orchards and which are 
  2-13      operated on the roads of this state only incidentally en 
  2-14      route to or from such farms, groves, or orchards; or 
  2-15      (4) Motor vehicle auctions licensed under Code Section 
  2-16      43-18-17.1 or persons performing motor vehicle repair 
  2-17      solely for such auctions. 
  2-18    However, any such person or entity may voluntarily 
  2-19    register under the terms of this article. 
  2-20    10-1-902. 
  2-21    As used in this article, the term: 
  2-22      (1) 'Administrator' means the administrator appointed 
  2-23      pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-395 or 
  2-24      his or her delegate. 
  2-25      (2) 'Customer' means the person who signs the written 
  2-26      repair estimate or any other person whom the person who 
  2-27      signs the written repair estimate designates on the 
  2-28      written repair estimate as a person who may authorize 
  2-29      repair work. 
  2-30      (3) 'Employee' means an individual who is employed full 
  2-31      time or part time by a motor vehicle repair shop and 
  2-32      performs motor vehicle repair. 
  2-33      (4) 'Final estimate' means the last estimate approved by 
  2-34      the customer, either in writing or orally, as evidenced 
  2-35      by the written repair estimate. 
  2-36      (5) 'Minor repair service' includes repairing and 
  2-37      changing tires; lubricating vehicles; cleaning, 
  2-38      adjusting, and replacing spark plugs; changing oil and 
  2-39      air filters; replacing, adjusting, repairing, or 
  3- 1      servicing hoses and air filters; changing or otherwise 
  3- 2      servicing the coolant, automatic door lamp switch, 
  3- 3      battery, battery ground cable, battery hold-down strap, 
  3- 4      battery positive cable, battery-to-starter relay cable, 
  3- 5      oil filter, fan and alternator drive belts, fuses, 
  3- 6      headlamp foot dimmer, horns, ignition coil output wire, 
  3- 7      light bulbs and headlamps, ornamental accessories, power 
  3- 8      steering pump belt, wheels, except alignment, windshield 
  3- 9      washer tank, and wiper blades; and any other minor 
  3-10      service which may be performed by persons without the 
  3-11      skills and knowledge required of motor vehicle mechanics 
  3-12      and helpers and which the administrator has designated 
  3-13      by rule to be a minor repair service.  No service shall 
  3-14      be designated as minor for purposes of this article if 
  3-15      the administrator finds that performance of the service 
  3-16      requires mechanical expertise or has given rise to a 
  3-17      high incidence of fraud or deceptive practices. 
  3-18      (6) 'Motor vehicle' means any automobile, truck, bus, 
  3-19      recreational vehicle, or motorcycle, motor scooter, or 
  3-20      other motor powered vehicle, but does not include 
  3-21      trailers, mobile homes, travel trailers, or trailer 
  3-22      coaches without independent motive power. 
  3-23      (7)'Motor vehicle repair' means all maintenance of and 
  3-24      modification and repairs to motor vehicles, and 
  3-25      diagnostic work incident thereto, including, but not 
  3-26      limited to, the rebuilding or restoring of rebuilt 
  3-27      vehicles, body work, painting, warranty work, and other 
  3-28      work customarily undertaken by motor vehicle repair 
  3-29      shops. 
  3-30      (8) 'Motor vehicle repair shop' means any person or 
  3-31      business which, for compensation, engages or attempts to 
  3-32      engage in repairing, servicing, or maintaining motor 
  3-33      vehicles owned by other persons and includes, but is not 
  3-34      limited to, motor vehicle and recreational vehicle 
  3-35      dealers; garages; service stations; self-employed 
  3-36      individuals; truck stops; paint and body shops; brake, 
  3-37      muffler, or transmission shops; and shops performing 
  3-38      upholstery or glass work. Any person or business which 
  3-39      engages solely in the maintenance or repair of the coach 
  3-40      portion of a recreational vehicle shall not be 
  3-41      considered a motor vehicle repair shop. 
  3-42      (9) 'Place of business' means a physical place where the 
  3-43      business of motor vehicle repair is conducted. 
  4- 1    10-1-903. 
  4- 2    (a) Each motor vehicle repair shop engaged or attempting 
  4- 3    to engage in the business of motor vehicle repair work 
  4- 4    shall register with the administrator prior to doing 
  4- 5    business in this state.  The application for registration 
  4- 6    shall be on a form provided by the administrator and shall 
  4- 7    include at least the following information: 
  4- 8      (1) The name of the applicant; 
  4- 9      (2) The name under which the applicant is doing 
  4-10      business; 
  4-11      (3) The business address at which the applicant performs 
  4-12      repair work; 
  4-13      (4) Proof that the applicant maintains liability 
  4-14      insurance with respect to repair work; 
  4-15      (5) Copies of all licenses, permits, and certifications 
  4-16      obtained by the applicant or employees of the applicant; 
  4-17      and 
  4-18      (6) Number of employees which the applicant intends to 
  4-19      employ or which are currently employed. 
  4-20    (b) Any motor vehicle repair shop maintaining more than 
  4-21    one place of business may file a single application 
  4-22    annually, which, along with the other information required 
  4-23    by this Code section, clearly indicates the location of 
  4-24    and the individual in charge of each facility.  In such 
  4-25    case, fees shall be paid for each location. 
  4-26    (c) Each application for registration must be accompanied 
  4-27    by a registration fee set forth as follows: 
  4-28      (1) If the place of business has one to five employees: 
  4-29      $25.00; 
  4-30      (2) If the place of business has six to ten employees: 
  4-31      $150.00; and 
  4-32      (3) If the place of business has 11 or more employees: 
  4-33      $300.00. 
  4-34    (d) No annual registration fee is required for any motor 
  4-35    vehicle repair shop which has a local municipal or county 
  4-36    license issued pursuant to an ordinance containing 
  4-37    standards which the administrator determines are at least 
  4-38    equal to the requirements of this article, or for any 
  5- 1    motor vehicle dealer licensed pursuant to Code Section 
  5- 2    40-2-39. 
  5- 3    (e) The administrator shall issue to each applicant a 
  5- 4    registration certificate in the form and size as 
  5- 5    prescribed by the administrator. In the case of an 
  5- 6    applicant with more than one place of business, the 
  5- 7    administrator shall issue a registration certificate for 
  5- 8    each place of business.  The certificate must show at 
  5- 9    least the name and address of the motor vehicle repair 
  5-10    shop and the registration for that place of business. 
  5-11    (f) Each motor vehicle repair shop which performs only 
  5-12    minor repairs is exempt from the provisions of subsections 
  5-13    (a) through (e) of this Code section; however, any motor 
  5-14    vehicle repair shop claiming to be exempt shall annually 
  5-15    file with the administrator an affidavit of exemption 
  5-16    accompanied by a $10.00 fee prior to engaging in business 
  5-17    in this state.  The affidavit of exemption shall be on 
  5-18    forms prescribed by the administrator and shall include 
  5-19    the name of the business and the business address where 
  5-20    minor repair is performed.  Any motor vehicle repair shop 
  5-21    maintaining more than one business, each of which performs 
  5-22    only minor repairs, may file a single affidavit of 
  5-23    exemption annually, which, along with the other 
  5-24    information required by this Code section, clearly 
  5-25    indicates the location and individual in each place of 
  5-26    business.  In such case, fees shall be paid for each 
  5-27    location.  Notwithstanding any exemption from the 
  5-28    provisions of subsections (a) through (e) of this Code 
  5-29    section, all other provisions of this article shall apply 
  5-30    to any motor vehicle repair shop claiming to perform only 
  5-31    minor repairs. 
  5-32    (g) Any person applying for or renewing a local 
  5-33    occupational license on or after January 1, 1998, to 
  5-34    engage in business as a motor vehicle repair shop must 
  5-35    exhibit an active registration certificate from the 
  5-36    administrator or a copy of the affidavit of exemption 
  5-37    before the local occupational license may be issued or 
  5-38    renewed. 
  5-39    (h) Each registration and affidavit of exemption must be 
  5-40    renewed annually. 
  5-41    (i) No annual registration application or fee is required 
  5-42    for an individual with no employees and no established 
  5-43    place of business. 
  6- 1    10-1-904. 
  6- 2    (a) When any customer requests a motor vehicle repair shop 
  6- 3    to perform repair work on a motor vehicle, the cost of 
  6- 4    which repair work will exceed $50.00 to the customer, the 
  6- 5    shop shall prepare a written repair estimate, which is a 
  6- 6    form setting forth the estimated cost of repair work, 
  6- 7    including diagnostic work, before effecting any diagnostic 
  6- 8    work or repair.  The written repair estimate shall also 
  6- 9    include the following items: 
  6-10      (1) The name, address, and telephone number of the motor 
  6-11      vehicle repair shop; 
  6-12      (2) The name, address, and telephone number of the 
  6-13      customer; 
  6-14      (3) The date and time of the written repair estimate; 
  6-15      (4) The year, make, model, odometer reading, and license 
  6-16      plate number of the motor vehicle; 
  6-17      (5) The proposed work completion date.  The motor 
  6-18      vehicle repair shop shall perform any repair within 24 
  6-19      hours of receiving the motor vehicle unless the customer 
  6-20      has agreed to a longer repair period; 
  6-21      (6) A general description of the customer's problem or 
  6-22      request for repair work or service relating to the motor 
  6-23      vehicle; 
  6-24      (7) A statement as to whether the customer is being 
  6-25      charged according to a flat rate or an hourly rate, or 
  6-26      both; 
  6-27      (8) The estimated cost of repair; 
  6-28      (9) The charge for making a repair price estimate or, if 
  6-29      the charge cannot be predetermined, the basis on which 
  6-30      the charge will be calculated; 
  6-31      (10) The customer's intended method of payment; 
  6-32      (11) The name and telephone number of another person who 
  6-33      may authorize repair work if the customer desires to 
  6-34      designate such person; 
  6-35      (12) A statement indicating what, if anything, is 
  6-36      guaranteed in connection with the repair work and the 
  6-37      time and mileage period for which the guarantee is 
  6-38      effective.  Upon completion of any repair, if the motor 
  6-39      vehicle repair shop returns the motor vehicle to the 
  7- 1      customer, and the customer has reason to believe that 
  7- 2      the repair problem has not been corrected, the motor 
  7- 3      vehicle repair shop shall make additional repairs at no 
  7- 4      cost to the customer, unless the motor vehicle repair 
  7- 5      shop conspicuously discloses that it does not guarantee 
  7- 6      its work; 
  7- 7      (13) A statement allowing the customer to indicate 
  7- 8      whether replaced parts should be saved for inspection or 
  7- 9      return; and 
  7-10      (14) A statement indicating the daily charge for storing 
  7-11      the customer's motor vehicle after the customer has been 
  7-12      notified that the repair work has been completed. 
  7-13      However, no storage charges shall accrue or be due and 
  7-14      payable for a period of three working days from the date 
  7-15      of such notification. 
  7-16    (b) If the cost of repair work will exceed $50.00, the 
  7-17    shop shall present to the customer a written notice 
  7-18    conspicuously disclosing, in a separate blocked section, 
  7-19    only the following statement in capital letters of at 
  7-20    least 12 point type: 
  7-22      BELOW, AND SIGN. 
  7-30      SIGNED ___________     DATE ______. 
  7-31    (c) The information required by paragraphs (8) and (12) of 
  7-32    subsection (a) of this Code section need not be provided 
  7-33    if the customer waives in writing his or her right to 
  7-34    receive a written estimate. 
  7-35    (d) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this Code 
  7-36    section, a copy of the written repair estimate required by 
  7-37    subsection (a) of this Code section and the disclosure 
  7-38    statement required by subsection (b) of this Code section 
  7-39    shall be given to the customer before repair work is 
  8- 1    begun.  The disclosure statement may be provided on the 
  8- 2    same form as the written repair estimate. 
  8- 3    (e) If the customer leaves his or her motor vehicle at a 
  8- 4    motor vehicle repair shop during hours when the shop is 
  8- 5    not open or if the customer permits the shop or another 
  8- 6    person to deliver the motor vehicle to the shop, there 
  8- 7    shall be an implied partial waiver of the written 
  8- 8    estimate; however, upon completion of diagnostic work 
  8- 9    necessary to estimate the cost of repair, the shop shall 
  8-10    notify the customer as required in subsection (a) of this 
  8-11    Code section. 
  8-12    (f) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to 
  8-13    require a motor vehicle repair shop to give a written 
  8-14    estimated price if the motor vehicle repair shop does not 
  8-15    agree to perform the requested repair. 
  8-16    10-1-905. 
  8-17    (a) No motor vehicle repair shop shall charge for making a 
  8-18    repair price estimate unless, prior to making the price 
  8-19    estimate, the shop: 
  8-20      (1) Discloses to the customer the amount of the charge 
  8-21      or, if the amount cannot be determined, the basis on 
  8-22      which the charge will be calculated; and 
  8-23      (2) Obtains authorization on the written repair 
  8-24      estimate, in accordance with Code Section 10-1-904, to 
  8-25      prepare an estimate.  No motor vehicle repair shop shall 
  8-26      impose or threaten to impose any such charge which is 
  8-27      clearly excessive in relation to the work involved in 
  8-28      making the price estimate. 
  8-29    (b) It shall be unlawful for any motor vehicle repair shop 
  8-30    to require that any person waive his or her rights 
  8-31    provided in this article as a precondition to the repair 
  8-32    of his or her vehicle by the shop. 
  8-33    10-1-906. 
  8-34    (a) In the event that: 
  8-35      (1) The written repair estimate contains only an 
  8-36      estimate for diagnostic work necessary to estimate the 
  8-37      cost of repair and such diagnostic work has been 
  8-38      completed; 
  8-39      (2) A determination is made by a motor vehicle repair 
  8-40      shop that the actual charges for the repair work will 
  9- 1      exceed the written estimate by more than $10.00 or 10 
  9- 2      percent, whichever is greater, but not to exceed $50.00; 
  9- 3      or 
  9- 4      (3) An implied partial waiver exists for diagnostic work 
  9- 5      as described in subsection (e) of Code Section 10-1-904 
  9- 6      and such diagnostic work has been completed, 
  9- 7    the customer shall be promptly notified by telephone, 
  9- 8    telegraph, mail, or other means of the additional repair 
  9- 9    work and the estimated cost thereof. A customer so 
  9-10    notified shall, orally or in writing, authorize, modify, 
  9-11    or cancel the order for repair. 
  9-12    (b) If a customer cancels the order for repair after being 
  9-13    advised that a repair which the customer has authorized 
  9-14    cannot be accomplished within the previously authorized 
  9-15    price estimate or time period, the shop shall 
  9-16    expeditiously reassemble the motor vehicle in a condition 
  9-17    reasonably similar to the condition in which it was 
  9-18    received unless: 
  9-19      (1) The customer waives reassembly; or 
  9-20      (2) The reassembled vehicle would be unsafe. 
  9-21    After cancellation of the repair order, the shop may 
  9-22    charge for the cost of teardown, the cost of parts and 
  9-23    labor to replace items that were destroyed by teardown, 
  9-24    and the cost to reassemble the component or the vehicle, 
  9-25    provided the customer was notified of these possible costs 
  9-26    in the estimate prior to commencement of the diagnostic 
  9-27    work. 
  9-28    (c) It shall be unlawful for a motor vehicle repair shop 
  9-29    to charge more than the written estimate plus 10 percent, 
  9-30    but not to exceed $50.00, unless the motor vehicle repair 
  9-31    shop has obtained authorization to exceed the written 
  9-32    estimate in accordance with subsection (a) of this Code 
  9-33    section. 
  9-34    (d) It shall be unlawful for any motor vehicle repair shop 
  9-35    to fail to return any customer's motor vehicle because the 
  9-36    customer has refused to pay for unauthorized repairs or 
  9-37    because the customer has refused to pay for repair charges 
  9-38    in excess of the final estimate plus 10 percent, but not 
  9-39    to exceed $50.00. 
  9-40    (e) Upon request made at the time the repair work is 
  9-41    authorized by the customer, the customer is entitled to 
 10- 1    inspect parts removed from his or her vehicle or, if the 
 10- 2    shop has no warranty arrangement or parts exchange program 
 10- 3    with a manufacturer, supplier, or distributor, have them 
 10- 4    returned to him or her. 
 10- 5    10-1-907. 
 10- 6    The motor vehicle repair shop shall provide each customer, 
 10- 7    upon completion of any repair, with a legible copy of an 
 10- 8    invoice for such repair.  The invoice may be provided on 
 10- 9    the same form as the written repair estimate and shall 
 10-10    include the following information: 
 10-11      (1) The current date and odometer reading of the motor 
 10-12      vehicle; 
 10-13      (2) A statement indicating what was done to correct the 
 10-14      problem or a description of the service provided; 
 10-15      (3) An itemized description of all labor, parts, and 
 10-16      merchandise supplied and the costs thereof, indicating 
 10-17      what is supplied to the customer without cost or at a 
 10-18      reduced cost because of a shop or manufacturer's 
 10-19      warranty; 
 10-20      (4) A statement identifying any replacement part as 
 10-21      being used, rebuilt, or reconditioned, as the case may 
 10-22      be; 
 10-23      (5) A statement indicating what, if anything, is 
 10-24      guaranteed in connection with the repair work and the 
 10-25      time and mileage period for which the guarantee is 
 10-26      effective; and 
 10-27      (6) The registration number from the certificate issued 
 10-28      by the administrator pursuant to this article. 
 10-29    10-1-908. 
 10-30    (a) Each motor vehicle repair shop shall maintain repair 
 10-31    records which shall include written repair estimates and 
 10-32    repair invoices.  A customer's records shall be available 
 10-33    to the customer for inspection and copying for a period of 
 10-34    at least six months.  A reasonable charge may be made for 
 10-35    copying if copying facilities are available.  The customer 
 10-36    may not remove such original records from the premises. 
 10-37    (b) Each motor vehicle repair shop shall allow the 
 10-38    administrator to inspect or copy the repair records 
 10-39    required to be maintained under subsection (a) of this 
 10-40    Code section during regular business hours. 
 11- 1    10-1-909. 
 11- 2    (a) The administrator shall prescribe by rule the 
 11- 3    specifications for a sign to be posted by all registered 
 11- 4    motor vehicle repair shops in a manner conspicuous to the 
 11- 5    public.  The sign shall contain the toll-free telephone 
 11- 6    number of the administrator for consumer information and 
 11- 7    assistance and shall inform customers that they may 
 11- 8    request, at the time the work order is taken, the return 
 11- 9    or inspection of all parts that have been replaced during 
 11-10    the motor vehicle repair. 
 11-11    (b) All motor vehicle repair shops required to register 
 11-12    under the provisions of this article shall include the 
 11-13    registration number from the certificate issued by the 
 11-14    administrator in any advertisements, announcements, or 
 11-15    listings relating to motor vehicle repair which are placed 
 11-16    in a newspaper, magazine, or directory. 
 11-17    10-1-910. 
 11-18      (a)(1) Any customer may obtain the release of his or her 
 11-19      motor vehicle from any lien claimed under Code Sections 
 11-20      44-14-360 through 44-14-366 by a motor vehicle repair 
 11-21      shop for repair work performed under a written repair 
 11-22      estimate by filing with the clerk of the court in the 
 11-23      circuit in which the disputed transaction occurred a 
 11-24      cash or surety bond, payable to the person claiming the 
 11-25      lien and conditioned for the payment of any judgment 
 11-26      which may be entered on the lien.  The bond shall be in 
 11-27      the amount stated on the invoice required by Code 
 11-28      Section 10-1-907, plus accrued storage charges, if any, 
 11-29      less the amount paid to the motor vehicle repair shop as 
 11-30      indicated on said invoice.  The customer shall not be 
 11-31      required to institute judicial proceedings in order to 
 11-32      post the bond in the registry of the court, nor shall 
 11-33      the customer be required to use a particular form for 
 11-34      posting the bond, unless the clerk shall provide such 
 11-35      form to the customer for filing.  Upon the posting of 
 11-36      such bond, the clerk of the court shall automatically 
 11-37      issue a certificate notifying the lienholder of the 
 11-38      posting of the bond and directing the lienholder to 
 11-39      release the customer's motor vehicle. 
 11-40      (2) The lienholder shall have 60 days to file suit to 
 11-41      recover the bond.  The prevailing party in that action 
 11-42      may be entitled to damages plus court costs and 
 11-43      reasonable attorney's fees.  If the lienholder fails to 
 12- 1      file suit within 60 days after the posting of such bond, 
 12- 2      the bond shall be discharged. 
 12- 3    (b) The failure of a lienholder to release or return to 
 12- 4    the customer the motor vehicle upon which any lien is 
 12- 5    claimed, upon receiving a copy of a certificate giving 
 12- 6    notice of the posting of the bond and directing release of 
 12- 7    the motor vehicle, shall subject the lienholder to 
 12- 8    judicial proceedings which may be brought by the customer 
 12- 9    to compel compliance with the certificate.  Whenever a 
 12-10    customer brings an action to compel compliance with the 
 12-11    certificate, the customer need only establish that: 
 12-12      (1) Bond in the amount of the invoice, plus accrued 
 12-13      storage charges, if any, less any amount paid to the 
 12-14      motor vehicle repair shop as indicated on the invoice, 
 12-15      was posted; 
 12-16      (2) A certificate was issued pursuant to this Code 
 12-17      section; 
 12-18      (3) The motor vehicle repair shop, or any employee or 
 12-19      agent thereof who is authorized to release the motor 
 12-20      vehicle, received a copy of a certificate issued 
 12-21      pursuant to this Code section; and 
 12-22      (4) The motor vehicle repair shop or employee authorized 
 12-23      to release the motor vehicle failed to release the motor 
 12-24      vehicle. 
 12-25    The customer, upon a judgment in his or her favor in an 
 12-26    action brought under this subsection, may be entitled to 
 12-27    damages plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees 
 12-28    sustained by such customer by reason of such wrongful 
 12-29    detention or retention.  Upon a judgment in favor of the 
 12-30    motor vehicle repair shop, the shop may be entitled to 
 12-31    reasonable attorney's fees. 
 12-32    (c) Any motor vehicle repair shop which, or any employee 
 12-33    or agent thereof who is authorized to release the motor 
 12-34    vehicle who, upon receiving a copy of a certificate giving 
 12-35    notice of the posting of the bond in the required amount 
 12-36    and directing release of the motor vehicle, fails to 
 12-37    release or return the property to the customer pursuant to 
 12-38    this Code section is guilty of a misdemeanor. 
 12-39    (d) Any customer who stops payment on a credit card charge 
 12-40    or a check drawn in favor of a motor vehicle repair shop 
 12-41    on account of an invoice or who fails to post a cash or 
 12-42    surety bond pursuant to this Code section shall be 
 13- 1    prohibited from any recourse under this Code section with 
 13- 2    respect to the motor vehicle repair shop. 
 13- 3    10-1-911. 
 13- 4    A motor vehicle repair shop may not refuse to return a 
 13- 5    customer's motor vehicle by virtue of any miscellaneous 
 13- 6    lien, and it may not enforce such a lien in any other 
 13- 7    fashion if it has failed to substantially comply with the 
 13- 8    provisions of this article. 
 13- 9    10-1-912. 
 13-10    (a) It shall be a violation of this article for any motor 
 13-11    vehicle repair shop or employee thereof to: 
 13-12      (1) Engage or attempt to engage in repair work for 
 13-13      compensation of any type without first being registered 
 13-14      with or having submitted an affidavit of exemption to 
 13-15      the administrator; 
 13-16      (2) Make or charge for repairs which have not been 
 13-17      expressly or impliedly authorized by the customer; 
 13-18      (3) Misrepresent that repairs have been made to a motor 
 13-19      vehicle; 
 13-20      (4) Misrepresent that certain parts and repairs are 
 13-21      necessary to repair a vehicle; 
 13-22      (5) Misrepresent that the vehicle being inspected or 
 13-23      diagnosed is in a dangerous condition or that the 
 13-24      customer's continued use of the vehicle may be harmful 
 13-25      or cause great damage to the vehicle; 
 13-26      (6) Fraudulently alter any customer contract, estimate, 
 13-27      invoice, or other document; 
 13-28      (7) Fraudulently misuse any customer's credit card; 
 13-29      (8) Make or authorize in any manner or by any means 
 13-30      whatever any written or oral statement which is untrue, 
 13-31      deceptive, or misleading and which is known, or which by 
 13-32      the exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be 
 13-33      untrue, deceptive, or misleading; 
 13-34      (9) Make false promises of a character likely to 
 13-35      influence, persuade, or induce a customer to authorize 
 13-36      the repair, service, or maintenance of a motor vehicle; 
 13-37      (10) Substitute used, rebuilt, salvaged, or straightened 
 13-38      parts for new replacement parts without notice to the 
 13-39      motor vehicle owner and to his or her insurer if the 
 14- 1      cost of repair is to be paid pursuant to an insurance 
 14- 2      policy and the identity of the insurer or its claim 
 14- 3      adjuster is disclosed to the motor vehicle repair shop; 
 14- 4      (11) Cause or allow a customer to sign any work order 
 14- 5      that does not state the repairs requested by the 
 14- 6      customer or the automobile's odometer reading at the 
 14- 7      time of repair; 
 14- 8      (12) Fail or refuse to give to a customer a copy of any 
 14- 9      document requiring the customer's signature upon 
 14-10      completion or cancellation of the repair order; 
 14-11      (13) Willfully depart from or disregard accepted 
 14-12      practices and professional standards; 
 14-13      (14) Have repair work subcontracted without the 
 14-14      knowledge or consent of the customer unless the motor 
 14-15      vehicle repair shop or employee thereof demonstrates 
 14-16      that the customer could not reasonably have been 
 14-17      notified; 
 14-18      (15) Conduct the business of motor vehicle repair in a 
 14-19      location other than that stated in the registration 
 14-20      certificate; 
 14-21      (16) Rebuild or restore a rebuilt vehicle without the 
 14-22      knowledge of the owner in such a manner that it does not 
 14-23      conform to the original vehicle manufacturer's 
 14-24      established repair procedures or specifications and 
 14-25      allowable tolerances for the particular model and year; 
 14-26      or 
 14-27      (17) Perform any other act that is a violation of this 
 14-28      article or that constitutes fraud or misrepresentation. 
 14-29    (b) A violation of this article shall also constitute a 
 14-30    violation of Code Section 10-1-393. 
 14-31    10-1-913. 
 14-32    (a) Any customer injured by a violation of this article 
 14-33    may bring an action in the appropriate court for relief. 
 14-34    The prevailing party may be entitled to damages plus court 
 14-35    costs and reasonable attorney's fees.  The customer may 
 14-36    also bring an action for injunctive relief in the superior 
 14-37    courts. 
 14-38    (b) The administrator shall process consumer complaints 
 14-39    received pursuant to this article according to the 
 14-40    provisions of Code Section 10-1-395. 
 15- 1    (c) All motor vehicle repair shops shall allow the 
 15- 2    administrator to enter their place of business to 
 15- 3    ascertain whether the registration certificate is current. 
 15- 4    If the administrator is refused entry or access to the 
 15- 5    premises of a motor vehicle repair shop, the administrator 
 15- 6    may seek injunctive relief in a superior court in order to 
 15- 7    obtain compliance with this subsection. 
 15- 8    (d) The administrator may enforce the provisions of this 
 15- 9    article by imposing administrative fines not to exceed 
 15-10    $1,000.00 per violation or by taking action to suspend or 
 15-11    revoke the registration of a motor vehicle repair shop 
 15-12    when the business has: 
 15-13      (1) A pattern of failing to comply with or violating the 
 15-14      provisions of this article; 
 15-15      (2) Filed an application in which any material fact is 
 15-16      omitted or falsely stated; or 
 15-17      (3) Intentionally defrauded the public through dishonest 
 15-18      or deceptive means. 
 15-19    All hearings under this subsection shall be conducted in 
 15-20    accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia 
 15-21    Administrative Procedure Act.' 
 15-22      (e)(1) The Attorney General or the district attorney, if 
 15-23      a violation of this article occurs in his or her 
 15-24      judicial circuit, shall be the enforcing authority for 
 15-25      purposes of this article and may bring a civil action in 
 15-26      a superior court for temporary or permanent injunctive 
 15-27      relief and may seek other appropriate civil relief, 
 15-28      including a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.00 for 
 15-29      each violation, restitution, and damages for injured 
 15-30      customers, court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees. 
 15-31      (2) The enforcing authority may terminate any 
 15-32      investigation or action upon agreement by the offender 
 15-33      to pay a stipulated civil penalty, to make restitution 
 15-34      or pay damages to customers, or to satisfy any other 
 15-35      relief authorized in this Code section and requested by 
 15-36      the administrator. 
 15-37    (f) If, in any proceeding brought pursuant to this 
 15-38    article, it is determined that the repairs and costs 
 15-39    thereof were in fact authorized, orally or in writing, the 
 15-40    repairs were completed in a proper manner, and the 
 15-41    consumer benefited therefrom, then the enforcing authority 
 15-42    may consider such factors in assessing penalties or 
 16- 1    damages and may award the reasonable value of such 
 16- 2    repairs. 
 16- 3    (g) The remedies provided for in this Code section shall 
 16- 4    be in addition to any other remedy provided by law. 
 16- 5    10-1-914. 
 16- 6    The administrator is authorized to establish by rule a 
 16- 7    program to provide financial assistance for individuals to 
 16- 8    undertake technical training or courses of study in motor 
 16- 9    vehicle repair.  The administrator may use up to 10 
 16-10    percent of the annual proceeds from the registration of 
 16-11    motor vehicle repair shops for this purpose.  The 
 16-12    financial assistance program shall comply with the 
 16-13    following general criteria: 
 16-14      (1) Motor vehicle repair shops shall submit a financial 
 16-15      assistance application to the administrator for 
 16-16      technical training on behalf of their employees; and 
 16-17      (2) Motor vehicle repair shops that receive financial 
 16-18      assistance for any course work, seminar, in-service 
 16-19      training, or other such program shall submit to the 
 16-20      administrator proof of attendance or completion of the 
 16-21      program.  If such proof is not provided, the motor 
 16-22      vehicle repair shop shall refund to the administrator 
 16-23      the sum of the financial assistance received for the 
 16-24      program not attended or completed. 
 16-25    10-1-915. 
 16-26    (a) The Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council is created 
 16-27    to advise and assist the administrator in carrying out 
 16-28    this article. 
 16-29    (b) The membership of the council may not exceed 11 
 16-30    members to be appointed by the administrator as follows: 
 16-31      (1) Four industry members of the council shall be chosen 
 16-32      from individuals already engaged in the motor vehicle 
 16-33      repair business who are eligible to be registered under 
 16-34      this article.  Such members shall become registered by 
 16-35      January 1, 1998.  Thereafter, the professional members 
 16-36      of this council shall be licensed under this article. 
 16-37      The administrator shall select industry members from 
 16-38      among the following categories: 
 16-39        (A) Independent automotive mechanics shops; 
 17- 1        (B) Franchise or company owned automotive mechanics 
 17- 2        shops; 
 17- 3        (C) Independent automotive collision shops; 
 17- 4        (D) Franchise or company owned automotive collision 
 17- 5        shops; 
 17- 6        (E) Independent tire dealers; 
 17- 7        (F) Franchise or company owned tire dealers; 
 17- 8        (G) Independent motor vehicle dealers; and 
 17- 9        (H) Franchise motor vehicle dealers; 
 17-10      (2) One member of the council shall be chosen from 
 17-11      persons already engaged solely in minor repair service 
 17-12      who are eligible to submit an affidavit of exemption and 
 17-13      who submit such affidavit by January 1, 1998. 
 17-14      Thereafter, the minor repair shop member of the council 
 17-15      shall file an affidavit of exemption pursuant to this 
 17-16      article; 
 17-17      (3) Six consumer members of the council shall be 
 17-18      residents of this state and shall not be connected with 
 17-19      the motor vehicle repair business.  At least two of the 
 17-20      consumer members shall be attorneys representing Georgia 
 17-21      Indigent Legal Services or any other legal aid society; 
 17-22      and 
 17-23      (4) Within 30 days after July 1, 1997, the administrator 
 17-24      shall appoint three consumer members and two industry 
 17-25      members for terms of two years and three consumer 
 17-26      members, one minor repair shop member, and two industry 
 17-27      members for terms of four years.  As terms of the 
 17-28      members expire, the administrator shall appoint 
 17-29      successors for terms of four years.  Members shall serve 
 17-30      from the time of their appointment until their 
 17-31      successors are appointed. 
 17-32    (c) The council shall annually elect from its members a 
 17-33    chairperson and vice chairperson. 
 17-34    (d) The council shall meet at the call of its chairperson, 
 17-35    at the request of a majority of its membership, or at the 
 17-36    request of the administrator. 
 17-37    (e) In conducting its meetings, the council shall use 
 17-38    accepted rules of procedure.  The administrator shall keep 
 17-39    a complete record of each meeting, which shall show the 
 17-40    names of members present and the actions taken.  These 
 18- 1    records and other documents about matters within the 
 18- 2    jurisdiction of the council must be kept on file with the 
 18- 3    administrator. 
 18- 4    (f) The administrator shall be responsible for providing 
 18- 5    administrative and staff support services relating to the 
 18- 6    functions of the council. 
 18- 7    (g) The council shall review the rules relating to this 
 18- 8    article which are adopted by the administrator and shall 
 18- 9    advise the administrator on matters relating to 
 18-10    educational grants, advancements in industry standards and 
 18-11    practices, and other issues that require technical 
 18-12    expertise and consultation or that promote better consumer 
 18-13    protection in the motor vehicle repair industry." 
 18-14                           SECTION 2. 
 18-15  This Act shall become effective on July 1, 1997. 
 18-16                           SECTION 3. 
 18-17  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are 
 18-18  repealed. 

Clerk of the House
Robert E. Rivers, Jr., Clerk
Last Updated on 04/20/98