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I own a small automotive repair shop in Virginia. It is to

my understanding that I need...
I own a small automotive repair shop in Virginia. It is to my understanding that I need to have certain signs posted such as my hourly rate, and something about the customer has the rights to an estimate if above x amount of dollars etc etc. I have seen these signs posted in other shops and need to know what I need to have posted to be in compliance with Virginia Law.

Also, is it law to have the customer sign an authorization form prior to performing any work? We towed a customers car the other day and did a diagnostic on it, and then the customer said she was calling the cops because she didnt want to pay the $40 and she never signed anything. We just let her leave and waived the $ because we didnt want a headache, but need to know what our rights are. Thanks
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Answered in 32 minutes by:
11/9/2013
lwpat
lwpat, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 25,387
Experience: Attorney with over 35 years of business experience.
Verified
Thanks for using JA. I will do my best to answer your questions. DON’T FORGET the your deposit is not used to compensate me until you rate my service.

In Virginia you are required to comply with the Automobile Repair Facilities Act.
It is fairly long and there is not enough room to post it on the forum but here is the link to the full code

DANGEROUS URL REMOVED?000+cod+TOC59010000017000010000000

Here is the sign that you need to have posted

Each automobile repair facility shall display in a conspicuous place at any point where vehicles are normally received for repairs, a sign which states that:

1. The customer may receive a written estimate on request;

2. No repair work charge may exceed the written estimate by more than 10 percent unless the additional work represented by the excess charge has been authorized by the customer;

3. Any conditions imposed by the automobile repair facility in providing written estimates, such as the limited hours when written estimates will be prepared or the amount of the reasonable fee charged for preparing a written estimate and for related diagnostic work;

4. The facility shall offer to return all replaced parts except warranty, core charge or trade-in parts required to be returned to a manufacturer or distributor; and

5. Any complaints can be made to the Division of Consumer Counsel of the Department of Law.

The sign heading "Customer Rights" shall be in letters at least one and one-half inches high and the remaining print shall be in letters at least one-fourth inch high with spacing between letters, words and lines so as to be clearly legible.

 

Any local sign shop should be able to make this for you.

 

A customer does not have to sign, the approval can be done orally but it is much better to have them sign. Most shops do have some type of form at least approving the diagnostic work. If you have a friend that works at a dealership, they could get you a blank form and then you could revise it to your particular shop.

 

Here is that part of the statute

 

Where a written estimate is requested, no repair work on the motor vehicle may be undertaken, other than such diagnostic work as may be necessary for the preparation of an estimate, until the written estimate has been provided the customer and the customer has authorized the work, either in writing or orally, and no charge for repair work in excess of the written estimate by more than 10 percent or, in the case of any motor vehicle which is at least 25 model years old, 20 percent or extension of the time for the work may be made unless the additional work represented by such excess charge or the time extension has been authorized, in writing or orally, by the customer.

 

You can do the diagnostic work.

 

Hope this helps and I appreciate the opportunity to assist you today.

lwpat
lwpat, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 25,387
Experience: Attorney with over 35 years of business experience.
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