Language in Florida H.B. 5005, “Deregulations of Professions and Occupations,” which would repeal Florida’s law requiring the registration of motor vehicle repair shops, the Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council and the regulation of motor vehicle repair, has been omitted in a budget conference report.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) organized a grassroots effort in Florida to support the current shop registration law. Florida repair shops contacted their legislators in support of keeping the shop registration statute, according to ASA.
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act was created to assist consumers with matters relating to motor vehicle repair shops. The Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council was established to advise and assist the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in carrying out and reviewing the rules relating to the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act. The law applies to dealers of new and used cars, trucks and motorcycles; garages; service stations; self-employed persons; truck stops; and paint, body, brake, muffler, transmission, mobile repair and glass shops.
If the bill had been passed as originally drafted, motor vehicle repair facilities would have been deregulated. Before 1993, there were approximately 5,500 consumer complaints per year in the state related to automotive repair. Resolutions for these complaints went through the state court system, a two- to three-year process that ASA says was expensive. During fiscal year 2009-2010, there were only 1,743 complaints for the year, a 70 percent decrease since the start of the program. With the Florida population increasing 35 percent during that time, the effective decrease in complaints was actually closer to 80 percent, according to ASA.
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act is self-funded by the automotive service industry, and helps to offset much of the cost for the call center for all of the motor vehicle related programs. The annual cost of the program for 90 percent of the shops is $50 per year.
There are more than 22,000 auto repair shops in Florida. ASA claims that the program as part of the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act is effective and successfully arbitrates nearly 70 percent of all complaints within 60 days.
ASA says it supports the Florida legislature’s decision to delete these provisions from H.B. 5005.