What Is The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act?
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) provides the most comprehensive protection against business and consumer fraud—but it is certainly not the only consumer protection law. The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act is a specialized state statute that helps to ensure that consumers are treated fairly by mechanics and automotive service companies. Here, our Miami deceptive and unfair trade practices lawyers highlight the most important things you should know about the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act.
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act Requires Companies to Register With FDACS
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act was put in place to help protect consumers against deceptive and otherwise unfair practices by mechanics and automotive service providers. To start, the state statute requires all professionals and companies that repair motor vehicles for other people to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Registered shops should post their official FDACS registration number.
Know Your Rights: You Can Request a Written Estimate
For consumers, the strongest protections provided by the Florida Motor Vehicle Act are centered around written estimates. If the expected cost of service will exceed $100, you have the right to request a written estimate from any registered mechanic/automotive repair shop. Among other things, a written estimate should include:
- The name and identifying information of the shop;
- Your name and vehicle information;
- A brief description of the problem;
- The expected completion date; and
- The estimated cost of repairs, including labor costs.
Special Process When Amount Exceeds Estimate By Ten Percent
Mechanics and vehicle repair companies have a duty to make good faith estimates of the total cost. Of course, an estimate is just that: It is a rough approximation of the expected cost of repairs. It is not a guarantee that the repair can be completed for that price. In some cases, unforeseeable issues arise during the repair process.
If the final cost of repairs is ten percent higher than the official written estimate, consumers have additional protections under the Florida Motor Vehicle Act. You have the right to get your vehicle back from the shop before you pay the full charge.
You can file a bond for the full amount of the final repair bill with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in your county. Using this process, the duty is on the mechanic to take legal action to justify why the final cost exceeded the written estimate by more than ten percent.
Call Our Florida Business and Consumer Fraud Attorneys for Legal Advice
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our FDUTPA lawyers have the professional skills and legal expertise to represent clients in claims under the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act. If you have any questions about your legal rights or legal responsibilities, we can help. Call us now for help. With legal offices located in Miami and West Palm Beach, we handle Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act claims throughout Southeastern Florida, including in Palm Beach County, Martin County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County.