Vehicle need repairs? Here’s what you should know first
- Choose a licensed repair business
All automotive repair businesses in Alberta must legally be licensed by the province’s automotive regulator, the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council or “AMVIC” for short. To tell if a business is licensed, just go to AMVIC’s website, amvic.org, and search the database. If you do not find the business you searched, please let AMVIC know.
Businesses must meet several requirements before being issued an AMVIC licence. For example, AMVIC performs a criminal record check on all business directors and verifies that repair businesses are hiring people with the proper trade certificates for the type of repair work being performed. AMVIC also has the authority to inspect licensed businesses.
- You have rights protected by law
Did you know a repair business cannot exceed the price of an estimate by more than 10 per cent up to a maximum of $100? The only exceptions are if you expressly consent to the higher price in advance or if you require additional work and agree to amend the estimate.
In several other scenarios, a repair business must also get your consent before going ahead with any work. For example, if the vehicle is not being repaired at the business where it was dropped off or the business is otherwise subcontracting repair work, the business needs to get approval from the customer in writing.
Do you mind if the business will be installing used, rebuilt, or salvaged parts? To use such parts, the business must tell the customer and get the go-ahead.
Do you know what to ask before you drive away? Repair shops are required to provide, in writing, information on all parts installed including if they are original equipment manufacturer’s parts or from another source, and whether they are new, used or reconditioned.
Remember, always ask for an estimate, get all promises in writing, and keep copies for yourself.
- You have someone who may be able to help you if something goes wrong
Consumers who have a complaint or a concern about a licensed repair business can turn to AMVIC for assistance.
AMVIC’s consumer services team is the first point of contact for anyone with a question or concern. In some cases, consumer services can attempt to facilitate alternate dispute resolution between a business and a consumer. Since 2001, AMVIC has returned $28 million to Albertans through alternate dispute resolution.
If a consumer services officer suspects a breach of the Fair Trading Act, the complaint will be sent to AMVIC’s investigations team. All AMVIC investigators are provincial peace officers with the authority to lay charges against a business or individual. AMVIC can also take other enforcement actions such as licence cancellations and fines.
In some cases, if a licensed business is no longer financially viable, the consumer may be eligible to file a claim for losses with AMVIC’s consumer compensation fund.
More information on your rights when repairing a vehicle can be found at amvic.org/repair