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In NC, the Motor Vehicle Repair Act requires a written estimate or signed waiver if the repair is over $350. The customer can waive any written estimates for a "period of time specified by the customer in the waiver." Does anyone have any kind of language in their waivers that specifies an effective time period? I'm not sure what period of time is standard/appropriate to include and I want to comply with the law without having to get a new waiver each time the customer gets work done.

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Sorry, I am in New York and have no knowledge of such a law. Is there an a trade association in your state that can help you with that? In my area, we have a local auto trade association where we can call with all legal issues. Maybe another ASO member can help also, good luck!

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In NC, the Motor Vehicle Repair Act requires a written estimate or signed waiver if the repair is over $350. The customer can waive any written estimates for a "period of time specified by the customer in the waiver." Does anyone have any kind of language in their waivers that specifies an effective time period? I'm not sure what period of time is standard/appropriate to include and I want to comply with the law without having to get a new waiver each time the customer gets work done.

 

I am in Michigan and we must have the same, signed written estimate or waiver of estimate if the estimated repair will be over $20.00. But at last I read the statute the waiver had no time duration. There were two types of waivers though, a single instance and a long-term. The long-term did not specify a length of time as I remember. But this is Michigan, not NC so you would be better served to investigate your State's law.

 

But on a side note, are you wanting a long-term waiver so you don't have to have a written estimate but can instead call the customer and get verbal approval, or are you wanting to circumvent the consumer's legal protections and then "ambush" them with the bill when they pick up their car? Do you have a lot of night drop-offs? Or do you not have policies in place to consult with the customer, establish their concerns to be addressed and then document them on a work order and have the customer verify the accuracy of your understanding with a signature? Or is your customer base one that trusts you completely and simply throws you the keys and says, "Just fix it then call me?" The only reason I bring this up is you didn't state why you needed/wanted the waivers but maybe you would benefit yourself if you evaluated the circumstances under which you need the waivers. I would imagine a caring repair shop would always get the customer's approval BEFORE performing any work beyond the initial request unless specifically told to do so. I know this is beyond the scope of your question but wouldn't that simply be respectful?

 

I'm sorry i couldn't answer your question, but even a shop in NC would be dangerous to take advice from without verifying it yourself to make sure you were in compliance. I hope you understand my other part was just points to ponder and an opportunity to look at your situation from a different perspective, it was not intended as an attack on you.

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I am in Michigan and we must have the same, signed written estimate or waiver of estimate if the estimated repair will be over $20.00. But at last I read the statute the waiver had no time duration. There were two types of waivers though, a single instance and a long-term. The long-term did not specify a length of time as I remember. But this is Michigan, not NC so you would be better served to investigate your State's law.

 

But on a side note, are you wanting a long-term waiver so you don't have to have a written estimate but can instead call the customer and get verbal approval, or are you wanting to circumvent the consumer's legal protections and then "ambush" them with the bill when they pick up their car? Do you have a lot of night drop-offs? Or do you not have policies in place to consult with the customer, establish their concerns to be addressed and then document them on a work order and have the customer verify the accuracy of your understanding with a signature? Or is your customer base one that trusts you completely and simply throws you the keys and says, "Just fix it then call me?" The only reason I bring this up is you didn't state why you needed/wanted the waivers but maybe you would benefit yourself if you evaluated the circumstances under which you need the waivers. I would imagine a caring repair shop would always get the customer's approval BEFORE performing any work beyond the initial request unless specifically told to do so. I know this is beyond the scope of your question but wouldn't that simply be respectful?

 

I'm sorry i couldn't answer your question, but even a shop in NC would be dangerous to take advice from without verifying it yourself to make sure you were in compliance. I hope you understand my other part was just points to ponder and an opportunity to look at your situation from a different perspective, it was not intended as an attack on you.

 

The main reason I asked is that I just recently read the statute in full and I wanted to make sure my bases were covered, legally speaking. My customer base consists largely of used car lot dealers and longtime customers who followed after I left my service management position at a dealership. I always discuss repairs with customers in detail but have yet to have anyone sign anything. I know for legal reasons and for good business practices this is a necessity, so I just wanted to have something prepared for my customers who don't care to receive an estimate, so that they wouldn't have to sign a new waiver each time we do business. No intentions of blind-siding anyone whatsoever.

 

I am currently a one-man show and don't have a lot of specific policies in place, including in regards to customer relations. But I am hoping to expand the business in the near future and would like to begin implementing some procedures, so I was just trying to decide how to best go about handling business particularly with my long-time customers.

Edited by tarheel2011
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The main reason I asked is that I just recently read the statute in full and I wanted to make sure my bases were covered, legally speaking. My customer base consists largely of used car lot dealers and longtime customers who followed after I left my service management position at a dealership. I always discuss repairs with customers in detail but have yet to have anyone sign anything. I know for legal reasons and for good business practices this is a necessity, so I just wanted to have something prepared for my customers who don't care to receive an estimate, so that they wouldn't have to sign a new waiver each time we do business. No intentions of blind-siding anyone whatsoever.

 

I am currently a one-man show and don't have a lot of specific policies in place, including in regards to customer relations. But I am hoping to expand the business in the near future and would like to begin implementing some procedures, so I was just trying to decide how to best go about handling business particularly with my long-time customers.

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The main reason I asked is that I just recently read the statute in full and I wanted to make sure my bases were covered, legally speaking. My customer base consists largely of used car lot dealers and longtime customers who followed after I left my service management position at a dealership. I always discuss repairs with customers in detail but have yet to have anyone sign anything. I know for legal reasons and for good business practices this is a necessity, so I just wanted to have something prepared for my customers who don't care to receive an estimate, so that they wouldn't have to sign a new waiver each time we do business. No intentions of blind-siding anyone whatsoever.

 

I am currently a one-man show and don't have a lot of specific policies in place, including in regards to customer relations. But I am hoping to expand the business in the near future and would like to begin implementing some procedures, so I was just trying to decide how to best go about handling business particularly with my long-time customers.

 

As I wrote, I was not meaning to seem like I was attacking or impugning you, I truly hope you did not take it that way. Also as I wrote, you would be best served to find a lawyer who is knowledgeable in this area. But in Michigan any waiver of estimate, long-term or one time (such as night drop) must spell out the following as applicable to the type of waiver in question:


  •  
  • that the customer is entitled to a written estimate and is waiving that right
  • the date of the waiver
  • the duration of the waiver including an expiration date for long term waivers
  • that the waiver is granted voluntarily
  • the exact amount of repairs authorized, if an amount is known in advance
  • the limit of repairs authorized if an exact amount is not known
  • the ramifications of granting the waiver such as acknowledging the financial obligation.
  • sufficient information to identify the specific vehicle the one-time waiver applies to

 

This is not an all inclusive list nor is it to be construed as meeting any or all legal requirements of any state. The State of Michigan motor vehicle repair facility manual provides sample waiver forms, your state may as well.

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