Houston City Council Delays Auto Repair Shop Licensing Ordinance; ASA Has Concerns with Collision Repair-Related Items - BodyShop Business

Houston City Council Delays Auto Repair Shop Licensing Ordinance; ASA Has Concerns with Collision Repair-Related Items

ASA has proposed changes to the oridinance that will benefit consumers and the automotive service industry, the association says.

The Houston city council has voted to delay the Automotive Repair Shop
Licensing Ordinance for two weeks, the Automotive Service Association
(ASA) reported on Dec. 8. The council remains divided on several items
within the licensing ordinance, and the majority feels that more time
should be granted to have input from additional small business owners.
The delay will allow more time for further deliberation and
communication with members of the Houston city council over potential
changes in the proposed ordinance language.

ASA’s Houston chapter sent a letter to Annise D. Parker, Houston city
mayor, and all members of the city council, recommending changes to
Section 8 of the current proposed Automotive Repair Shop Licensing
Ordinance. While ASA says the ordinance has improved since the
association began working with the city, ASA believes further changes
are necessary for the association to be supportive. ASA’s proposed
changes will benefit consumers and the automotive service industry, the
association says.

There are several mandates in the proposed ordinance that would place
unnecessary burdens on Houston repair shops, consumers and the Houston
police department (HPD), according to ASA.

In the letter to the mayor and city council, ASA proposed solutions for
several issues that have been raised regarding the Nov. 29 ordinance
draft, including the following:

• The waiver for verbal approval should be eliminated to address
concerns that the written authorization places an unnecessary burden on a
repair shop, the HPD and the consumer.

• All repairs should be authorized with a signature to provide protection for the consumer and the small business owner.

• All automotive repair facility (ARF) licenses operating on the date
the ordinance is authorized shall have six months to comply with the
requirements of section 8-22 (a).

In addition, in the letter to the mayor and the city council, ASA raised
a number of concerns that have yet to be addressed in the current draft
ordinance. These include:  

• The definition of a "collision repair facility" should be changed to better represent collision repair.

• Reduce the collision requirement to hold parts for seven days to three
days. It is not feasible for collision repair shops to store
collision-damaged parts for up to seven days.

• ASA questions whether the city can impose a limit on administrative fees.

• The ordinance should not list specific names of software programs
because it limits the potential for new and improved estimating guides
in the future.

• Mandate that a vehicle release form be presented to the vehicle owner
or authorized agent listing the collision repair shop’s costs for
tear-down fees, administrative fees, etc. It will create transparency
for the customer and insurance company.

• Change the term "body shop" to "collision repair facility" throughout
the proposed regulation. The language in the proposal should be
consistent.

• There is a discrepancy between the two different definitions of a
collision repair facility that creates the possibility for
discrimination.

• ASA recommends authorization forms for consent and nonconsent tows to alleviate problems in the towing industry.

• Automotive repair facility license fees should be reduced in light of
the fact that many others, such as waste disposal fees and sign fees,
have increased as well.

ASA also suggested that the city’s staff continue to dialogue with our
ASA Houston leadership to ensure the final regulation is the best
possible for consumers and repairers. The association highlighted the
opportunity that the proposal presents to address training concerns for
the industry that impact the consumer, and stated that Houston chapter
leaders would like to work with city council staff to ensure that
licensed repair facilities adhere to appropriate training requirements
for technicians.

The ordinance will be voted on by the city council Dec. 21, 2011. ASA
says it opposes the current draft ordinance and encourages the city
council to make additional improvements.  


More information:


To view the letter sent to the mayor and Houston city council members, visit ASA’s legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.

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